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Monday, December 19, 2016


by Seree Zohar

Between 700 and 1,000 people arrive daily from the embattled city of Mosul to the stretch of UN-run refugee camps just 20 kilometers east of the city's outskirts. —CNN, December 18, 2016. Photo: Iraqi IDPs (internally displaced people ) from fighting in the village of Shora, south of Mosul, reach an Iraqi army checkpoint on the northern outskirts of Qayyarah, which was liberated from ISIS but is still engulfed in thick black smoke from oil wells set ablaze by the retreating militants. IDP’s who reach Qayyarah are then taken to the Ja’dah IDP camp, October 2016. Ivor Prickett—UNHCR via Time.

Homing pigeon launched through dawn, your rhythm alights on me,
fingers, gloats, dehisces: prayer, your cadence chooses me.

White flag?  We hadn't time to buy one.  And nothing here stays white.
Brethren!  We are light!  Scourges thunder news to me.

Amorphous tented Mama,  my weary footsteps echo yours.
Did I once beg for makeup?  To age so young no more amuses me.

On red-moist stone the thrashing dove’s heart seeks its startled head
as the moon shatters her mirror.  A hone-edged screeching nooses me.

In gasps accursed by memory, sounds palpitate, untongued.
Sheared of speech, my youngster throat: its grunted coo accuses me.

They thrill to this: to snatch and strip, recast their prophet’s land
where, slim as a rising blade, a martyr grooms, then bruises, me.

Mama, snatch up your hem and run, for torpor now diffuses me.
My spilling psyche frays.  My throwaway martyr loses me.

Seree Zohar has work published or forthcoming in various print and online venues.