Volume II, Number 2 Front Page
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March 31, 2005

The Strays of Baghdad

Genevieve Labahn

My beloved brothers and sisters
we are the dogs of war.
Can you hear the sneers
of the Wise Old Men? -with their smoke and drinks,
their dead grins,
As they send their hunters to the Cities
to round us up, the strays in the streets,
to beat us
to muzzle us
to ship us off to die in the hot wind and sand.
Listen to our Master.
How he’s betrayed us!
Look at his hand, outstretched, promising
Freedom and Paradise.
I will serve him no more.
I will rip him apart and take back
the blood he has stolen.

You can hear them cry at night,
though sometimes the sandstorms mask it,
the snap and crack of fire and glass
the whimpering and howling
the shrieking and madness of metal
the howling of absolute terror and
the fear reflected in their eyes, how they can see
they’re being butchered
in exchange for the black gold.

A silent snow is falling over my still City.
As I wandered the empty streets, I wondered:
Who cried Havoc? Who laughed as my children were rounded up
and slaughtered
like strays?
Who laughed as their blood
dried in the hot sand
under a foreign sun?

The Cities are quiet now.
The children are gone
and
are not
coming back.

Front Page (March 31, 2005)

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