Smile, Jesus Loves You
He wore no smile. Square jaw, set firm,
taut muscles. Skin like latte, stubble-covered,
(more like fuzz.)
Skin too soft for who he was,
who he pretended to be.
Salvadoran sun backlit the scene
set on the borders of insanity.
Not a game he played that day,
a game his peers in other lands
and other times still play.
This was a game of war.
He stared at us, each one, with eyes
too full of sadness for an almost-child.
Compared our passport photos with reality.
And there, upon the submachine gun’s butt—
a smiley face, a message, too.
I wonder–can he smile today,
and can he still believe?
At the height of the civil war in El Salvador, the country suffered a massive earthquake that resulted in much loss of life and many injuries. I spent close to a month there, helping to nurse the…
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