Poem of the month - Vanishing-Points

For Robert and Badral Young

Safe in an armchair in the dentist's surgery,

you observe your daughter's treatment:

being cruel to be kind again. You fix on

the criss-cross of her trainer's soles

in the foreground, on past her brave socks,

grazed knees, school jumper and clasped hands

to the vanishing-point that is her head,

laid back. It is the same perspective as

in the photograph of the thrown away body

of the young Taliban soldier. His trainers,

similarly foregrounded, look as if

they could be the same designer label.

But this vanishing-point is past his head, way out

in the impassive desert sands towards Kabul.