All The Children

I’m a child in Aleppo
Hiding out
Dodging bombs and rocket fire and worse
Not knowing what tomorrow brings
But I live

I’m a child who’s escaped Iraq
Now riding in a Zodiac to a distant shore
Where safety is promised
Until an errant wave hits our craft
And I die

I’m a child in South Sudan
Lost my parents…my sibs
Between the bombs and the starving there is no hope
Cachectic and dying I await the next airlift and the next
But I live

I’m a child deep in the Sahel
I carry guns, I carry ammo
I’m the fiercest killer cuz that’s all I know
I fight
And I die

We are the children
The children of the third world
The victims of the first world and our own warlords
who created us, then turned their back.
Can we have a home? Will you take us in?
If you don’t, we’ll die
You won’t?

We are the children, we are the future
And you do not see us.
We live…We die
We don’t know why
Do you?

Michael Rosen is a Columbia University Professor of Pharmacology who has worked in the Mid-East and sub-Saharan Africa. This poem focuses on the refugee crisis and its most vulnerable victims – the children.