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Spring 2007

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Iraqi Temples
Daniel Wilcox

A masked gunman in black stands
                 on a smoky street corner in Baghdad.
 
Palms rear up along the guttered street
                       with green branches in the background
                                                                         like hands to Allah.
 
His left rubber sandal is ripped,
                                                   red spots dribbled on the blue plastic;
 
One hooded jihadist--
                                23 separate armies rule the smudged smog of 6 million.
 
The Euphrates and Tigris rivers sheen
                                                            like the blades of historic scissors
                                                                                                                       Closing.
The threat of the cutting,
                                        the bleeding of a people.
A Kalashnikov rifle fingered                                     in his raised hands;
 
On the ground prone,
                                   ready a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
 
Most of the streets are desert;
                                             it's Friday the day of worship,
God is Great!
 
                 A wretched Toyota, bombed metal, wrenched and contorted
                                                                                                                in front of him
Empty of its bodies, idols of the fly
 
It's Ramadan
                      The month of ultimate submission to Allah
 
and the Mahdi Army fasts
                                         from sweets and melted cheese
 
and roams the streets hungering for infidels and Sunnis.
 
Down a trash-strewn alley
                                         behind the mosque blindfolded bodies
Lay prone in endless prayer
                                              red circles in their temples.