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Ada Koch
The Massacre of Innocence(diptych)
mixed media on canvas
(2) 5’ x 4’  

Hardening of the Heart
By Glenn North after The Massacre of Innocence by Ada Koch

“Then Herod […] was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all of the children, from two years old and under….”
  -Matthew 2:16

You don’t notice it at first

the way you casually watch

news reports of children slaughtered

in some hard-to-pronounce country

on the other side of the world

or the 3-year old girl on the other side of town

who had a hole put through her

throat by a drive-by bullet.

You don’t think twice when you hear

the laughs coming from your son’s room

as he racks up kills in Call of Duty.

Your recollection of the first time

you heard the phrase War on Terror

grows faint and though you pause

for a moment when the report

on Good Morning America

tells of Boko Haram burning 86 children

alive in a boarding school but you quickly switch

to the traffic report because you’re late for work.

You scroll past the news feeds on Facebook

on the anniversary of Sandy Hook

to tally up the likes of your most recent selfie

and although your heart is healthy

it is far more impenetrable, not unlike

the soldiers in Rubens’ Massacre of the Innocents

who at the bequest of the king

plunge spears through infant lungs,

bash the heads of babies against the stones.

When you view the artist’s modern interpretation

of the classic work are you even touched

by the silhouetted toddlers’ blood-drenched prayers?

When did your heart become a fist in your chest?

When did the rumors of war stop alarming you?

The numbing effect crept in ever so quietly,

and like a bullet through the throat

of a 3-year old girl, you never saw it coming.

The Massacre of Innocence(diptych)

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