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2004 competition
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Poetry
 
2004 competition: Second prize winner
 

Interim Constitution

        When the tank came
        and blew the end of our house away
        it was
“A decisive moment in the history of Iraq”
        it was
        terrible because mama was out.

        The furniture fell into the street
                and water spurted everywhere.
        We hid in the corner under the door
                covered in dust, until the dark.
        When it got light again, Tameem cried.

        We shared some bread that I found.
“It is the Middle East’s first Bill of Rights”
        Rasha must have some because
                she is only a baby and needs food.
        Tameem must have some because
                his arm still bleeds where the wall fell on him.
        And I must have some because
                I am eight and must look after us all
        Until mama comes back.

        For two days we have tried
                to stay hidden, though the door
        is too heavy for me to fix
“There are still issues to be resolved”
        and the water still pours down the wall.
                We get in mama’s bed
        because it is the biggest for the three of us
“Shias, Kurds and Sunnis will be equally empowered
to veto majority decisions”

        and because it is the only one left

                No one has come for us.
        But there is shooting in the street
                and I am afraid to go out.
“This is not the time to err on the side of caution”
        There is no food left
                and I am head of the family now,
        – until mama comes back.


Graham High