Refugee (Baghdad 2003)
By Mia Leonin
June 2, 2014
A child’s legs twitch, wired with the day’s last synaptic flickers.
Her body kicks and rolls into the C of sleep’s inevitable curve.
Beneath a newly named Pluto she sleeps—no longer a planet,
now simply a sphere, a smear on the galaxy’s conscience.
A mother kneels into the lamp light of the day’s last ablutions.
How will her missing hand groom the head?
She rubs her cracked heels with coarse salt and wheat chaff.
How will the linens trample themselves clean?
Daughter, your mother’s prayer teeth would sharpen
and shred your opaque sack of sleep.
She would chew you into her cow-belly vault, break you
into one of the earth’s invisible compounds with her rumen
if she could live to see what you will survive.
Sculpture – I was unable to find an appropriate representation of the sculpture by Ghada Amer. Her original sculpture represented translations of the word love in Arabic. You can see the original work on the Guernica site.