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Friday, March 12, 2010


by Anne Harding Woodworth

                “What do I remember about her? Nothing. Wasn’t nothing to remember.”
—Sheldon “Buddy” Barnum, one-time husband of jihadjane, Washington Post, March 11, 2010

To be remembered for nothing,
not for blond hair, not for blue eyes—
mediocrity she didn’t know the word for—

was intolerable, until in her teens
she thought she could be memorized
by whoever took her to bed.

She remembered well.
Why didn’t the others?
She remembered Buddy

and hated him and his dogs,
the stubble on his face,
the smell of his teeth,

how it was to be sixteen lying
next to a male body twice her age
who memorized nothing,

not even the Lord’s Prayer.

Now sleepless at night
she tries to figure out memory
and why it’s so mixed up

with saliva inside her mouth,
sweat in her fist, sperm
dripping between her legs,

and that dark, mysterious place
under her sternum
that aches and screams

and forces her to shout to the world,
I’m going to explode, to kill you
so that you remember me.

You will know the color of my eyes
through the slit in my niqab.
You will remember me, you bastard kafir.

Anne Harding Woodworth’s most recent books are Spare Parts, A Novella in Verse (Turning Point, 2008) and a chapbook, Up From the Root Cellar (Cervena Barva Press, 2008). Her poetry, book reviews, and essays have appeared in U.S. and Canadian journals, such as TriQuarterly, Rain Taxi, Cimarron Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Connecticut Review, Antigonish Review, and Poet Lore, as well as at several sites on line.