Sometimes you must take the medicine
though there is shame
that I can’t pray the dark away
but when they took my friends…
He touches his wedding ring
says the IN thing at the time
that each teen wore a silver ring, black stone,
on the little finger of the right hand. A symbol.
But it left a mark to mark them out—
a tanline— when the mukhabarat came.
It’s how they knew, how they chose…
They were found in mass graves
It could have been me
but we’d just moved house
at the time of the purge…
He hums One Way Ticket the Blues disco beat
dances with the children as they crowd around
they cheer, clap, hug his legs.
He drums on the table, has a glint in his eye,
winks at his wife as she peels an orange,
specially chosen, picked from the tree.
She separates the segments,
ready to take a bite.
Insomnia worsens my epilepsy.
My parents suffered. Each time
my eyes roll back, mouth froths,
body spasm, bite my tongue, lip, split my head,
they’d flashback to my brother
who died from fever
Eagle eyes, swift swoop
he grabs the orange piece
gulps it in one go, smiles.
So brisk, only two drops of juice fall.
He does same with her sweet lemon.
They laugh; she should know better.
Timing is everything.
The doctor gave me tablets to sleep
many days I don’t want to wake up
days I must remember
to God we belong and to Him we return.
About the Contributor
Abeer Ameer is originally from Iraq, but was made in England like the blue Cortina. Her poems have appeared in Acumen, Writing Our Lives anthology, Roath Writers anthology, The Cardiff Review online, Mslexia Little Ms and I Am Not A Silent Poet online blog. She is currently working on a collection about personal stories from Iraq. She lives in Cardiff with her family.
More Than You Were - Christina Thatcher
It is an immensely moving and thought-provoking collection of poems portraying the complexities and challenges faced by the writer after losing her father to drug addiction. The poems stay with the reader long after the turning the last page.
More from Issue Nine:
- The Place That He Can Never Return To
- The Cyclops
- The Girl with Many Names by Kristin LaFollette
- Three by Deb Scudder
- The Mourner by Louise Burgess
- Margot by Marni Appleton
- Pebbles on a Shore by Lynne E Blackwood
- blindfolded minds by Rachel Hawkins
- Phantom habits by Blakeley Bartee
- Dementia’s Mantra by Mike Ferguson
- Pack Animals