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To a Tragic American

Oh he who with five millimeters hot
the casing empty after firing
inhaled the shock
the awe uninspiring
Who over summer tried to sneak
into the shade
Of that undistant country where reside
so few of yours, so many from our side.
Is there ever shame
bound to an Anglo name
or will they tell how war is hell and thank God
for our men.

He’d waited months too long
that was the trouble
But he loved adventure and other people’s countries
and hated some vague phantom named Osama.
Hoping that elections would be enough.
The national tune of Iraq was Crazy in Love
he said and don’t let anyone say “defeat” to him-
He’d heard it of the VC
One soldier, his uncle and a disabled
he sneered his way around
through Basra, Karbala, Nasiriyah.
Car bombs cooled
the American flush of his fair cheeks
in the holy month in Sadr city
forgetful of his words and his intentions.

Returned, his ass intact, to ball his wife
who bakes for the VFW in the fall.
To sit one day in winter
and joke about a funeral passing in the rain.
It gave no pain
because he did not know the people.
To celebrate the following spring
the former gnaw and itch for trigger fingers
that pulled away and left him not so innocent
and they perform so well those large men

God bless our men

And do your game birds smile or do
they crumple like a child?

While in Baghdad the shrapnel and the smoke
far from Ibn Sina
A boy named Uday
returning from death’s other kingdom to discover
they’d taken off one leg and then the other.
Having been promised he would rise
His legs gone at the hip
cries Sami’ allahu liman hamidah
Allahu Akbar.
Knowing before he died of waiting
he’d never pray again
It mattered greatly.

He died Allahu Akbar in his youth as did Malik
although Malik slipped from childhood
to die upon the street a man
Curled up around his rifle
the dreams in his chest broken
His face quite happy
considering he drowned in blood.
He thinking in delirium he was a boy again and voyaging
among the sea of robes in Kadhimiya
his rifle to his breast like a Koran.

An old man named al-Hakim
returned in his sixty third year to the coffin of Najef
and was, the English paper said,
destroyed completely outside the mosque.
His followers had said he was the future
and he was coming home.

A boy named Jamaal Nargis
exploded in his breast for love
a three piece suit of dynamite
and lived, unknowing, to become
the chief attraction in a family
of posters
the blossoming new face of the shahid

Hundred and twenty in two thousand seven
The suicides of your nation
graves that read GOD BLESS THE USA
A separate heading sometimes, GOD IS GOOD
or, Allahu Akbar.

Thus tragic Americans are made
by the translation.