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Monday, July 31, 2017


by Vera Ignatowitsch 

Souhayla, one of the many Yazidi woman who were kidnapped by the Islamic State, outside the home of an uncle who wants her story to be told. Credit Alex Potter for The New York Times. You can listen to her story on “The Daily” podcast of The New York Times: After Mosul, Iraq, was liberated, two New York Times reporters encountered a group of women who had been enslaved by the Islamic State for years. Days after the city’s fall, they still believed that the militant group had taken over the world. Guests: Rukmini Callimachi, who covers terrorism and the Islamic State for The Times, and Andy Mills, a producer for “The Daily” who is in Iraq with her.

Hush child, it’s not time to tell
of the horrors you endured,
of the seven shades of hell
drowned in while your bones matured.
Do not ask. It took too long,
endless years to bring you back.
Flesh survived repeated wrong.
Lurking in the cul-de-sac
of your thighs a childhood waits
to be mourned with healing dirge.
Searing sorrow contemplates
crucial years lived on a verge,
stifling screams as each one mounts,
riding you in crude abuse.
Sleep now. One day we may count
wounds that do not bear excuse.

          You do not know. You were not there.
          It never stopped. They didn’t care.

Vera Ignatowitsch is addicted to poetry, raspberries, and occasionally good scotch. Her poems have appeared in 2 anthologies and a number of publications including The Lyric. She is editor of Formal & Rhyming poetry for Better Than Starbucks Poetry Magazine.