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Photojournalism: 1st Place, Baghdad, 2005

Jamie O’Halloran

No room for wonder at light or angles, just feeling blur.
            Protector fear-drawn and riven into family
                        Sedan. Windshield now white shatter.

Those are red blossoms on the child’s coat. That is
            Blood on the pavement. There is no confusion over
                        Red, the siren of her mouth.

Soldier dressed like sand. Baggy pants fall
            In same folds as her dress. Her skin is
                        The color of sand. Her hands the same red

As the flowers, not blooming, bloodied.
            Barrel of rifle shakes under Maglite’s oval
                        Of light. Blood is where it shines.

Children carried where M16’s just resting.
            Children carried on antagonistic arms
                        With layers of protective gear,

Color of snapshots and poorly-lit, out of focus
            Pavement-colored sky, early enough
                        For lights still on.