Mandy Shunnarah

the damage has been done (2023)

“Yesterday the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said that it had confirmed Hamas beheaded babies & children while we were live on the air. The Israeli government now says today it CANNOT confirm babies were beheaded. I needed to be more careful with my words and I am sorry.” — tweet by CNN reporter Sara Sidner

If only apologies could bring the dead back—
uncrush the child’s skull under stories of fallen
apartment buildings, unspool the bullet from
the pregnant woman’s back, unairstrike Gaza.

If only newspaper corrections issued hours
or days later —& always at the bottom of the page
—could resurrect our martyrs. Restore
the child’s skin so parents could identify his face.

If only propaganda were an innocent mistake
that didn’t lead to a boy stabbed in Chicago
& calls for Palestinians to be hunted in Dearborn.
O “innocent mistake,” that fatal oxymoron.

If only regretful notes could be printed on shrouds,
then those apologies would be good for something.
The damage has been done. Our morgues are full,
as well as our ice cream trucks, & our mass graves.

We’re running out of flags & white sheets to bury
our dead. Sorry doesn’t even begin to cover it.

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