Paradise: Under the shade of swords.

The safest place in the world for you is curled up on the
companion’s tomb.
In the figs above your sleeping, there is a nest.

The tender man sells sweets. Here the veil between worlds
shimmers thinnest.

Your mother reached out, caught the smallest feather in the
air. Each year she made two
new pillows. Your father, at the mosque, hand-fed a turkey

The turkey, fat already, jumped over the wall and into the city
with at least three names.
Through the ancient streets he wandered to the sweet seller
who read prayers into the air.

You recall how other times you took yourselves to caves.
Elsewhere you read over and over The Throne.

When oppression exists, even the bird dies in its nest.

My sweet, sweet love, today they bombed this place.
On the news I saw an eight-year-old digging graves.

Christi Kramer is a graduate of George Mason University’s Creative Writing program. This poem is from Reading The Throne, an ethnography-in-poetry of Iraqi Kurds exiled and living in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

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