Central California Writers 2nd Place Winner, Poetry


"Unfazed by the Danger of Sniper Fire on a Sarajevo Street, a Young Man and Woman Kiss on Tuesday" (AP photo caption, 1993)

Because this is a part of the earth
where everything's fair, even the stealing
of a kiss, with contempt for their own welfare,
on steps that could be anywhere and are,
as it happens, next to the burned-out shell
of an automobile, a metal carcass
made more so by their human caress.
This has all been reported before, but he
draws her to him anyway
and the eyes close because, strangely,
nothing matters quite like this.
You can see they predate even war,
with the audacity of Americans they
kiss, on Tuesday, unfazed
by the darker regions, war and rumors of war.
The only shot's the camera's, and they don't even care
if someone tells the whole world about this,
or clips them for a refrigerator door
half a world away, their familiar kiss
like a flag meaning we're young, and shouldn't die.

Michael Thomas