by Eric G Muller
what details of the day did you discuss
as you stepped on the bus
surrounded by the chirp & giggle of other girls?
what must you have thought when a masked man
who roared up on a motorbike, drew the green drape aside
and stuck his head into the back of the dusty van?
what fear, if any, did you feel when the hooded militant
pointed his pistol through the shredded shrieks of schoolgirls
shouting – which one of you is Malala?
what courage must blaze in you
having known all along they’d hunt you down
and punish you for exposing their evil?
what ineffable drive moved you to resist and speak out
against the will and mayhem of the Taliban –
the burning of schools to sever girls’ education?
you could not have heard the twin shots
that hit you in the head & neck
and wounded two more chaste-veiled daughters
you must know that your mellow voice for peace
is louder than any shots fired to spread fear
instead of freedom in the Swat Valleys of the world
you are the future of a force
grander and greater than all blind fanaticism
that tries to impose its cowardly will
you sum up tomorrow’s women
a feminine force that leads to light
the threatened masculine rage through love
you, a mere 14 year old
have shown what each of us
can do to change life for the better
may you survive the wounds you took
for all who suffer undue bondage
for spreading – not Western – but human thinking
Great Soul Malala
your voice –
it lives on
Eric G. Müller teaches literature and drama at the Hawthorne Valley High School in New York. He is the Alkion Center Teacher Training director. He has written two novels, Rites of Rock (Adonis Press 2005) and Meet Me at the Met (Plain View Press, 2010), as well as a collection of poetry, Coffee on the Piano for You (Adonis Press, 2008). Poetry, articles and short stories have appeared in many journals, anthologies and magazines.