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Summer
2008

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Bird Watching in Iraq (long ago)
Peter Goodwin

Crossing the desert took 48 hours
48 hours of monotony
rocks, 
small hills
gravel
and sand
but on each side of the road
—there had been rain—
a small strip of green
a little life amid so much emptiness 
balm from the bright blinding sun
just a small strip of green
and in the green
small movements
birds flitting about
small sparrow-like birds
white and brown or 
white and  black
and yellow
and blue
such beautiful birds
in this little patch of green
amid all that empty brown
that glaring desert brown 
and a lizard
and once a snake
briefly
darting
as we rumbled past
on this smooth straight road 
through the empty desert.
when there was nothing to fear
and nothing to do 
but watch birds.