Flowers of Flame

The Poetry of IRAQ




Sadek Mohammed

      for Galina

We shall assume that

When you come,

You will come snow-white

From the cortex of our days

Anointing our heads with water

And granting our times more tenderness.

We shall assume that

The wind will unbutton its dress

And rub its smooth skin

With rose water

And ambergris

Spilling the scent of the breeze

Upon our dark complexions.

We shall assume

That we will sleep on the roofs of our houses

To cool the summer’s heat,

That we will wake to summer mornings

Aromatic with our mothers’ bread.

We shall assume that we will fall in love with women

As bashful as our neighbors

Or stroll at ease through unknown neighborhoods

Or get drunk in Baghdad’s or Basra’s taverns

Or pass through the Gate of Wishes at the Imam’s shrine

So that the sky will sprinkle us with butterflies

That sparkle like the mirrors of his tomb.

We shall assume that we will

Rename all things

To encourage the believers in the sun,

And women will change their night-black clothes

For bright ones.

We shall assume that you will come.

We shall assume that .................................

Please, don’t let us ...............................  like idiots.     



This poem uses the Arabic “technique of silence”: readers are invited to become co-creators by filling in the empty spaces in the last verse for themselves.

Flowers of Flame
Copyright 2008 by Michigan State University