In honor of Ly Ty, Seng Sam, and Heifer International
In the photo, the men are smiling broadly,
though two lifetimes ago they were enemies.
They are from Cambodia – no, Kampuchea.
During the horrific years of the ‘killing fields’
they fought on opposing sides until
landmines took a leg from each man.
They sit, looking into the camera; one leans into
the other and has his hands on the other man’s
shoulders. The man being leaned into wears
a pale blue shirt with the legend “peace for all”
under a dove logo. Beneath the smiles are
telltale plastic sheaths over prosthetic limbs.
The only escape from the past is acknowledgement –
and then refusal of the old hatreds. The only way
forward is through forgiveness and development
recognizing the rights of all.
The men smile, call each other “brother”, and
I imagine now, with a water buffalo from
Heifer International, dare to dream of a better,
more peaceful future for their families.
~ Andrew Shattuck McBride
“Brothers” is in the current issue of Caesura, the Journal of Poetry Center San José. Editor Vuong Quoc Vu and staff worked tirelessly on this beautiful new issue, and it shows!
Please subscribe to Caesura and support this fine literary journal!
I am very grateful to Caesura Editor Vuong Quoc Vu and staff for selecting my poem. It is featured with the photograph of Ly Ty and Seng Sam, courtesy of Heifer International. I am especially grateful to Vuong for working to obtain permission from Heifer International to republish the photo.
Link to photo and story:
Please support the vital work of Heifer International if you can!
Blessings to all, Andy