Ghosts calling from Iraq’s minarets

Operation Hammersmith, Al Amarah, 2004.

Operation Hammersmith, Al Amarah, Iraq, 2004.

The best poetry written about soldiering in the Iraq conflict which I’ve encountered comes from a collection called “Here, Bullet” by Brian Turner.

It conveys far better and far more about Iraq than anything I can write in this blog.

Ashbah (Arabic for ghost)

The ghosts of American soldiers
wander the streets of Balad by night,

unsure of their way home, exhausted,
the desert wind blowing trash
down the narrow alleys as a voice

sounds from the minaret, a soulful call
reminding them how alone they are,

how lost. And the Iraqi dead,
they watch in silence from rooftops
as date palms line the shore in silhouette,

leaning toward Mecca when the dawn wind blows.