We Need to Look Longer

CREDIT: EVGENIY MALOLETKA/AP/
We Need to Look,Longer read by Jonathan Moya
The eye feels the light, 
the lens knows the truth:

The children silent
under a blue tarp
amongst the rubble—

their little backpacks
still on their backs
offering the hope they
still might stand up

then, the beat—
and the realization
that will never happen.

You want
to look away
yet you can’t.

You must
look closer.

You must
look for longer.

Again and again you
must be the essential,
indisputable witness

to things no human
being wishes to see—

The line of strollers
left at Przemyśl station by
fleeing mothers carrying
their infants in their arms,

a less brutal
more hopeful image
connecting in solidarity

mothers divided
by geography
and circumstance.

And yet, there
is the uncovered
mother and child

who died face up
in the square amidst
the brightest sun,

the bloody pregnant
mother being evacuated
on a stretcher

who stop you
in first gaze
and mid-breath,

who demand
you to act, demand
you to respond,

when you see the mass
graves of Mariupol

and know you can
only think of
those of Babi Yar.


The famous Ukraine war photos 
referenced in this poem can be
seen by visiting the following links to them:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/tv/2022/03/08/ukraine-family-killed-irpin-why-photo-matters/9431379002/

https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-europe-edf7240a9d990e7e3e32f82ca351dede/gallery/c78c87d51b064e789bfa4449de274703

https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/09/europe/gallery/mariupol-hospital-bombed/index.html

https://www.reddit.com/r/poland/comments/t83lrj/moms_in_poland_left_their_baby_strollers_in_rail/

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/mother-killed-with-children-while-fleeing-ukraine-identified-as-silicon-valley-employee

https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-war-maternity-hospital-pregnant-woman-dead-c0f2f859296f9f02be24fc9edfca1085

https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/.premium-on-anniversary-of-babi-yar-massacre-newly-released-photos-shed-light-1.10258666