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Collateral Damage

A Haibun for Susan Sontag, author of Regarding the Pain of Others

white poppy
pinned to her son's first suit
Remembrance Day

Inside the top drawer of her husband's wooden desk, there is an old photo album. It starts with pictures of toy trucks, toy soldiers, toy tanks, and other delights of boys from the neighborhood playing in the sunlight. It ends with the picture of a new military cemetery with a row of white crosses in winter mist.

Note: First introduced by British pacifists in 1926, the white poppy is used as a symbol of peace and worn as an alternative to (or complement to) the red poppy for Remembrance Day.

by Chenou Liu

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