11-18: “Nearly 400 children rescued from global child pornography ring”

In the article there is a photograph of the inspector:
she looks defeated
*******& thousands
*******of images
though her team has just won a seven month battle
*******of hundreds of once-bright-eyed children
and those 45 terabytes she never wanted to see
can now crack into jagged pixels
*******A terabyte
*******is 1,024 gigabytes
*******and that multiplied by 45
She knew she hadn’t been born into a safe world
she thought she could make it one
and some days it seems she does
*******= thousands of images
*******of children
*******in ways that make the most money
She and her team busted
348 working class people
who had found a profitable business
a lucrative desecration
*******40 school teachers
*******9 physicians
*******6 officers of the law
*******9 clergymen
Professionals and officials chosen to protect and nurture
what they filmed
united with 284 others
in a pan-continental network
producing X-rated videos of five-twelve year olds
in their spare time and on their off-days
the evidence
that they sold the arrangements
was all there for her to inspect on their computers
*******The youth baseball coach
*******boosted his income
*******after practices
*******from the privacy of his den
*******keeping 500 films secret
Horrified, she told the press, horrified. How many more?
*******Mostly she wishes she just hadn’t seen
Today the newspaper says
400 five-twelve year olds are set free
into an unsafe world
to figure out how to mend someday
from something that they cannot delete

Maybe she thinks
*******if we live in a world where
*******thousands of people
*******in plain clothes
*******in lab coats
*******in uniform
*******feel happy
*******when they look
*******at naked children and the dollars that follow
*******so effortlessly
*******there is no doubt
*******that hell exists
*******that it’s humanmade
*******that it’s local
and she’s barely crossed the threshold
Maybe she thinks
*******there is no doubt
*******who will inherit the earth
*******and who will
*******bow before them
but for now
she lives in a world where everyday people rearrange
even what is most untainted
until it gratifies
flows like milk
*******and there is nothing she can do to unsee it
For a hero her head tilted forward and her eyes
staring under the floorboards
her photograph says
*******some battles cannot be celebrated.


Jessica Martini received her MFA in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction from Northern Arizona University. Her poetry has been featured inWritten River: A Journal of Eco-Poetics, White Ash Literary Magazine, If and Only If: A Journal of Body Image and Eating Disorders, and Golden Walkman Magazine. She lives in Flagstaff.

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