Every time my father is late from the front line Sickness strikes my mother and I tour with her the hospitals of Najaf.
I write to him ‘come back to us now, Make your sergeant read my words: I am about to die’.
He returns my letter, laughing: ‘We are the amusement of the blindman’.
Oh, you River of Jasim, you tore my years Between my father’s assumed victories And my mother’s wishes in the emergency room;
They used to plant hope in her mind By sticking on the glass door, Two notices confirming: (awaiting death certificate).
Her heart ages so fast And I ***** from hearing the chants. Every time the presenter says ‘Victory is on the horizon’,
My grandmothers’ eyes rise to the ceiling - She hides a mocking smile.
With rage I scream at the screen ‘no victory’s coming’.
She whispers: ‘god is generous’. ‘You sound like my father when I asked for new toys’. She quietens and we contend, Awaiting his return before a new battle, Fearing that a last fight may end the life of a dove.
Translated by Dikra Ridha
Najaf: an Iraqi city, where the poet was born and lived most of her life. The River Jasim: is a river situated between Iraq and Iran, the location of many battles during the Iraq/Iran war.