Iraq Occupation Focus logo US troops face Iraqi demonstrators in Baghdad, July 2003
Iraq Occupation Focus : Campaigning to end the occupation of Iraq
2004 competition
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Iraq Occupation Focus
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2004 competition: Highly commended (7 of 11)

from Seas of Glass

After the strike
the road is like a dolls’ repair shop,
full of mismatched limbs.

Here’s an arm:
a textbook diagram
of nerves and arteries for us to draw.

Someone’s ear,
someone’s leg.
A stray foot in its sandal.

It’s all so bizarre:
the woman propped against a wall,
a chair leg in her chest;

the man who dies howling
like his dog,
an iron pin through his head.

And all that glass,
winking from
a shattered sky,

twinkling needles
showering the streets.

And over there
stand three rough coffins
full of dirty bundles

that embrace
a mother, sister, wife.
Tucked in one corner,

flowery rags
hide a clay doll face
caught in the sweetness of sudden death;

a pursed and pretty mouth,
grey and gritted skin.
Baby, with its dummy dangling

just a breath away.
This is the whole family
of the man who cries.

They sleep just as they are,
in wooden boxes
in the dirt.

Rosi Beech