That girl running

by Liza Porter
down the dusty road
that black and white photograph
of the naked black-haired girl
running toward us, her mouth
round as a dinner plate
smashed, pieces falling
from between her teeth
and scattering behind her
on the ground, that girl
running, you know
the picture, I know you do
the one flashed through the world,
news wires fat with horror
our soldiers still obeying
the masters of war, smoke
and dust rise in her wake,
that girl running, her
skin melting as if the whole
world’s on fire, the whole
universe gone mad.

I see that picture, that girl
running, through a forty-year
smokescreen, no Life
magazine in my lap
its cover art the color of
new blood, its black and white
pages shiny, slick
as the red that poured
from all those children
all those young G.I.s.
The man who snapped that
picture, that girl
running, what did he do
after the shutter clicked, after
he took his eye from
behind the viewfinder, what
did he do after he leaned back
slightly from the nude
length of that girl running
toward him?

© 2005 by Liza Porter. All rights reserved.

Liza Porter’s poems have been published in Slipstream, The Montserrat Review, and her work is forthcoming in The Circle Magazine, The Gingko Tree Review, HazMat Review, Skidrow Penthouse and Telling Stories: Women Write the Southwest, an anthology due from University of Texas Press next year. She is the director of the monthly Other Voices Women’s Reading Series in Tucson, and owner of Last House Press, a small home-press that designs and publishes poetry chapbooks, journals and other paper designs (