BAGHDAD NIGHTS


We gave them all our dreams – the magic carpet, the Arabian Nights.  They used them for Disney films and brought us their tanks and their snipers.

                         -- Aziz Hassan, Iraqi poet (February 2016)


 

Night shimmies along the Street of Books

over flat rooftops that promise relief

from crushing heat, disrupted

intermittently by bursts

of small-arms fire. 

 

Aladdin’s dream – that magic swirl of hope

where chance aligns and fortunes fall from trees,

once graspable in blue-tiled mosques

and arching passageways – is now consigned to

splintered palms, dry rubble piles.

 

His name was Allah-Din; but magic

comes obscured these days -- small expectations

mixed with dust.  What rises is uncertainty. 

Each alley has gone blind.  The nomad moon

hangs motionless, resigned.



 First published in What Rough Beast, Aug.24, 2019