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Sunday, January 11, 2004


First, there was the 1st war,

and at the fronts,

Asmaa's uncle was slaughtered.

And, P. O. W. s were dragged through the mud,

tied to trucks...

Asmaa cried on the backyard bench,

at Baghdad High.

Then, Namu died.

Dragged himself in

with a bubble for an eye,

and a skin flap for a hind leg.

And Tamraa tried hard,

to understand why I cried

so hard ...

I’d screamed at the front gate guard,

“shoot him!”

But mercy was not available,

during the war

- not even at the fronts,

euthanasia; extinct.

It was easier with the P.O.Ws

(no one heard you at the fronts).

Ahmed had screamed and shut the bathroom door,

in the remains of Namu’s face.

And in the morning,

Mother cried.

At the stove, her bitter coffee

turned to salt.

And Dad smiled in sadness…

But soon, the trucks on TV,

tore off

the POWs arms!

So, soon,

too soon,

they all forgot about Namu....

In memory of Namu, my cat, who died during, the Iran-Iraq War.


You drain the words out of my famished mouth
when you scream,
a sun-drenched cry of dripping dates and palm-green nostalgia.
You, a thought in the womb before birth,
and all the lines of crimson of afterlife...
You, a bosom of Tigris-scented compassion,
thrown across a desert of aimless caravans.
You, a wan wanderer, in the pages of my history...
Did you know that your rains washed away my name,
minutes before baptism?
And tattooed tomorrow's memories for eternity...
But then, you turned your face east...
away from me...
Do you recognize me? ...
I am the homeless child that seeks your amputated arms for refuge,
a beggar of identity amidst your grains of blood-drenched sands.
Why have you lost me
when I had hung on to the trains of your abbai,
through all the wars,
all the sores...?
Left my minarets of war-torn memories to crumble into oblivion...
my faith in humankind disemboweled.
You are the truth
-if it ever existed,
belief, when it is all I know.
I know you now
like I know God.
For you are the entity they forbade,
the remnants of the game they played,
the devastated I...

For my beloved Iraq...