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WHEN SAMANTHA LEFT for Samantha Smith child peace envoy 1972-1985 When Samantha left the blind rains were falling somewhere, the unhearing falcon tangent to hurricane’s eye and lost. A girl and her father fell from the sky. It was an important failure, another of many come from that bad world the radios and televisions speak of, somewhat different because she was small and had helped us hope a little when we thought it counted. But whatever was said as cameras panned the crash site we knew she had stopped like a countdown while we were preparing suppers or going off shift. A stranger stillness than perplexity had taken her. It came as a fire not bred of conflicts frozen in another age but of flawed machinery or pilotage. The experts knew. Stillness survives the fires. It holds the shoreline of consciousness and we drive around it for as long as it takes to be sure she and the others have stopped caring so much, that we will never again look up from footprints trailing the car’s open door wondering if we have heard them speak or caught ourselves regarding her in an anchored dinghy lost in the dark that wells from her eyes. previously unpublished © 2014 David W. Parsley Parsley Poetry Collection