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Poetry and Medicine
December 20, 2006

The Iraqi Ward

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jama-archives.org.

JAMA. 2006;296(23):2775. doi:10.1001/jama.296.23.2775

for Mounira

A village always suffers
this one had gowns
old men tea drinkers
there were prayers
and dominoes
and cards though only
half the players had hands
All those were games
you watched but wouldn't play
you were the muse there
smiling mound
in a black chador
you left your face unveiled
who would hide
such beaming eyes
such rounded cheeks away
Your children dead
within the riddled car
and yet you never cried
when we made scarves
you tied one on
the girl who couldn't move
you led the prayers
certified the food
and never once broke down
Until the day
the place was disassembled
the healed taken
out to crouching Frogs
for transport home
that was the day you chose
to fall into the arms
of Senior Chief Minata
the one so good with the kids
a man not your husband
to sway weeping
clasped together
a strange beast
half uniformed half black
crying “Salaam, Salaam!”

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