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Monday, June 09, 2008

This Silence...

as I trace my steps back and forth
in a corporate commercial building on the third floor
next to a set of white iron rails and carpet

where the stains
of last winter
still linger...

Last May

I had called her from this staircase
and she described what it meant living the way

she was
dodging bullets

while trying to keep her children sane.

I had not heard her voice in two winters

and in spring when I did
it brought all the sunshine that Iraq could endure
and Ohio could dream of…


as I press my shoes in the carpet
my toes jut out in impatience
but for someone I love like next of kin
someone I knew all my life…almost
I have been very patient.

I have waited 13 months…
At times the silence spat staggering truths about the end of waiting.
At times the lines spawned noises that clawed at my brain and my breath.
She is no longer in that local Baghdad directory...

and I am left to this silence.

The occupation had raped and killed an ‘Abeer’

and set on fire all that was left of her and her kin
and hence followed nightmares that this is an omen…
I wake up in sweat and all around there is this silence.

I wonder and anger that this world can remain this silent...

Abeer returns in dreams every May,
a smile of compassion from warm brown eyes
and a nonchalant nod at the life she knew or knows…
I don’t know...

I wonder if she even breathes anymore…

or if her body lies somewhere…
in silence.

Note: I grew up with Abeer, in Baghdad Iraq. She is (was?) an architect, and single mother who was abandoned by the rest of her family in Hai Al-Jamiaa. There was a raid on her area which was considered a 'hot-spot' in the summer of last year. I have not heard from her since. I reference her here.