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Friday, May 12, 2006


by Andrew Grossman

Detainee #493993s

I dream of my boy playing in black water.
They talk of years-he is drowning now!
Some nights he counts the stones
In the wall around the village,
Some nights he walks by a stream,
An armored hand reaches out to grab him.

There was no intention to be gone.
I went to drive my uncle to a medical exam .
What happened then? The capture was soft.
I did not know the meaning of the smoke
That drifted from the soldier's nostrils,
Sighing with his questions that reached the sky.

Detainee #193433r

Heavy the pot in which I carry
bubbling stews of slaughtered lamb.
People are starving in the next valley.

Most fragile the glass that is balanced
near the tip of my nose, a drop
Might allay the world of the hatreds condensed.

Detainee #844263v

You and me and the demon
in Cell 32, beneath a half moon.

The tall priest stands by the short one.
Strands of hair fall from their ears.

We are going to wrestle,
The devil and I, and I will be alone.

Down in the brown essence, we will
Test the nowhere to run principle.

Wild flowers grow tall in the country,
In the country beyond the walls.

Wild flowers such as adorn
The impossible hair in the impossible movie.

The hair that grows from the ears of infidels
Contains music alluding to midnight trysts.

One must separate the word from the metal
to enlarge the word, and the metal from the air.

There is a woman in my mind, quite still,
Waiting in the garden through which I stroll,

This woman is a part of the cell;
She is in the excrement and in the soul.

Her eyes are deep brown, her hair is styled
As one of the harlots in an American theatre.

She and I and the demon
in Cell 32, beneath a half moon.

She and I on the ship, having pleasure
As the sun flickers at the solid shore.

Andrew Grossman's poem, "The Efficient Nurses of Florida" was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been widely published and anthologized. Grossman's new book is 100 Poems of the Iraqi Wars, comprised of work from the Middle East, Israel and the United States. He resides with his wife, Nancy Terrell, in Palm Beach, Florida.