No Tears: A Lament for Aleppo

Aleppo is a place where children have stopped crying.

Dusty-faced & shell-shocked,    

Not even a whimper comes from the tight-lipped mouth

Of the blood-stained toddler.


A nurse asks her mother, “is this your child?”

Is this your child, your beloved, your flesh and blood and bones?

What dreams did you have for this child of yours?

What hopes have been dashed in the dust?

Where are her tears? Have they, too, been covered in dust?


Where is the water that will wash away the blood and dust and sweat and smoke?

Where is the water that will steal the heat from the smoldering fires?

The fires of Hell on Earth,

The fires that mark the failure of humanity,

The fires that fall from the sky and destroy and destroy and destroy.


We have watched these fires burning for months,

Helplessly gasping, grasping buckets of water

    That leaks through holes in rotted wood,

    That leaks into the ocean that divides us from the fires.


We have seen these tearless children,

We have mournfully wept the tears they cannot cry,

    But our tears cannot save a broken world,

    No tears can conjure empathy in the powerful.


And so children have stopped crying,

Water has stopped flowing,

The river of hope runs dry.


Holy One, are you weeping? Holy One, do you cry rivers of tears?

Holy One, is the well of your pain and sorrow full to the brim?

Send rain, send tears, send hope, Holy One. Send hope.