Syrian Gas Attack

I Can’t Even Talk About It

The biology of anguish
is being taught to us again.
Our internal textbook on disgust
has been flung open
to a visceral chapter
filled with graphic images
that, as sentient beings,
we cannot bear to name
or even know:

Rotting meat roiling with maggots.
A cockroach alighting on a pillow.
Spewed stomach contents.
Putrid Fruit. Open sores.
Feces. Urine. Body odor.
Hair matted with sweat.
Fingernails bitten & spit.
An unwanted penis.
Blood in a market.
War-wounded faces.
Children suffocating.
Contorted dead bodies.

Overcome by symptoms of horror
that convulse us out of denial,
the bitter gall of agony rises
in our throats. Choking,
eyes burning, we collapse
as we try not to see, not to smell,
not to vomit, even as we know
that, this time, we cannot
let ourselves turn away.
It is the test of our very humanity.

by Anne McCrady

News Links (find out more):  The Guardian CNN, NYTimes, NPR, Al-Jazeera, Vox

Audio Link (hear Anne read the poem): SoundCloud