the magazine is on vacation till 1 september 2017

Poem

 

by :Kadhem Khanjar

translated by : Alice Guthrie

 

“Breaking news: mass grave discovered nearby . . .”

 

Yesterday I went down to Forensics. They asked me for a sample for DNA matching. They said that they had found some bones, as yet unidentified. I turn and turn like an orange on the knife of hope.

Now I am at home, brother, wiping the dust from the artificial flowers around your picture, and watering them with tears.

***

The medical report says that the bag of bones that I signed for today is “You”. But this is little. I laid him out on the table in front of them. We counted again: a skull with six holes, one clavicle, three cervical ribs, a shattered femur, a pile of wrist bones, and a few vertebrae.

Is it possible that this little is a brother?

The medical report indicates that it is. I put the bones back in the bag. I brushed the earth from my hands, then blew the rest from the table, put you on my back, and left.

***

On the bus I sat the bag beside me. I paid for two seats (this time it’s me who pays). I grew up today, enough to carry you on my back and pay your bus fare.

***

I didn’t tell anyone that I had received this little. I watch your wife and your children brush by the sofa that I left you on. I wanted one of them to open the bag. I wanted them to see you one last time. But you were as unyielding as a bone. Afterwards they asked about the tearstains on the sofa.

***

For an hour I have been arranging these damp bones in the bottom of the coffin, trying to make you complete. Only the nails in either side know how little this is.

 

 

poet and performer from Iraq

started 1 MAY 2010                 email : info@ila-magazine.com

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