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If I stop
by Lozan Yamolky

If I stop looking at you,
will the guilty feeling go away?
Will it keep you alive?

If I cry a little after I see you;
if I cry a lot,
will the pain inside me just go away?
Will it bring you safety?

If I give money to charity,
will it ease my restless conscience?
Will it put food in your empty stomach?

If I pray day and night,
will it comfort my troubled soul?

Will it put dry socks and shoes
on your cold worn-out, little feet?

If I become angry and shout to the world
every time I see you suffer;
will the world help you?

If I do whatever I can
from across the oceans for you,
will it give me peace of mind that
“at least I did something”?
Will it stop you from crying?
Will it stop the hurting you feel?
Will it keep you warm and dry?
Will it make you less lonely?
Will it give you back your sense of comfort?
Will it make you want to live another day?
Will it give you a place to call home?
What can I do to help you?

I am so far away from you.
I cannot reach you.
I cannot give you what you need.
I cannot touch you, hold you
or speak comforting words
in your tiny ear, my lovely little refugee child.

Don’t give up whatever you do;
I will not give up on you
until I breathe my last breath.
I will speak to the world.

I will tell them to pray;
give help,
comfort
housing
acceptance
love
and include you.

I will never cease
to shout at the world
and all who live in it
to stop the wars!

For our children’s sake,
for our future,
stop the insanity
stop the senseless killing.

Photo by Selahattin Sevi. 

SOURCE: This poem is in my debut book ( I’m No Hero) published by Silver Bow Publishing (October 4, 2016).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A photo of two sad little refugee girls huddled together alone, wrapped in emergency silver/gold foil blankets, standing on the shores of a Greek island after being rescued from their sinking boat; their blankets waving in the wind, creating the shape of a single butterfly wing. The girls were looking straight at the camera; looking at us. It was the look they gave me is what made me write this poem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lozan Yamolky was born and raised in Baghdad; she is Kurdish from northern Iraq, the fifth of 11 children. She left Iraq in1994, lived in Ankara, Turkey, as an asylum seeker, then migrated to Canada in May 1995. She wrote poetry as early as her preteen years, but out of fear of being judged/ ridiculed by peers and siblings, she stopped writing or would throw poems away. Her uncle (a composer, poet, and musician) inspired her to keep writing. Her debut poetry book, I’m No Hero, dedicated to her uncle Serwan Yamolky, will be released on October 4, 2014. She works as a freelance interpreter in Kurdish, Arabic, and English.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Taken in Tofino BC, Canada, February 2015 by Harry Braun (the author’s husband).