Safiya's Song (Pesh Mergas)

("Pesh Mergas" means "We Who Face Death." It is the name of the Kurdish freedom fighters. The Kurds live in a mountainous region of Iraq and have been engaged in a continuous struggle to secure an independent homeland.)

1

I watch you making bread
the room smells of a sweet spice
rice and lamb
You scoop the dough out
flatten it between your palms
Bowls of fruit on the table, your dress
peaches, honeydew melons, plums
and grapes
Thin gold bands at your wrist
at your throat, strands of gold in
and around the dark
of your hair.
"In my country, my people live
in high mountains
We have gold, and much
much beautiful things."
You call to your young sons, their names
like poems
"Arie"
"Haval"
We sit at table
thanking God
thanking Allah
for life for bread

2

After supper our children
climb each other
like mountains
grabbing hold, leaping
off falling down into
sleep. Laughing
you cover them where they lie.

From your pocket you take a photograph
folded in halves
a girl your daughter
her skin like yours
color of oil color of stones

3

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