Badria Saeed Khidir, Nakhsheen Saeed Osman and Rabia Muhamad Ibrahim
My body is blooming. Every night leaking ﬂowers,
I turn my mattress into a bed of roses – black,
cherry-red, pink and gold. By day I hand-wash
the towels, recall the stillborn after the gassing.
Who would have thought there are weapons
that turn every part of your body against you?
Every bruise, cough, or nosebleed seeming like
the ﬁnal betrayal? Weapons that turn you into
a despised being in your own village, no one
daring to visit you, thinking you are contagious.
Weapons that kill you years after being exposed,
leaving you unable to blame anyone for your death?
Dispute Over a Mass Grave
The one you have ﬁnished examining
is my son. That is the milky coloured Kurdish
suit his father tailored for him, the blue shirt
his uncle gave to him. Your ﬁndings prove
that it is him – he was a tall ﬁfteen year old,
was left handed, had broken a rib.
I know she too has been looking for her son
but you have to tell her that this is not him.
Yes the two of them were playmates and fought
the year before. But it was my son who broke
a rib, hers only feigned to escape trouble.
That one is mine! Please give him back to me.
I will bury him on the verge of my garden –
the mulberry tree will offer him its shadow,
the ﬂowers will earnestly guard his grave,
the hens will peck on his gravestone,
the beehive will hum above his head.
11 Before You Leave
12 Memory Bias
13 Crossing Back
14 The Maths Lesson
16 A Woman Before Her Time
18 Homeland, What Shall Do with You?
20 One Moment for Halabja
21 The Silent Visit
22 A Man’s Honour
23 The Heroes
27 Preface: Researcher’s Speech
28 The 1984 Negotiation
29 Gas Attack
30 Escaping Kanitu, March 1988
32 Arrest at Milla Sura
33 Dibs Camp, the Women’s Prison
34 The Child at the Pits
36 The Elderly from Nugra Salman Camp
38 The Gas Survivor
39 Dispute Over a Mass Grave
40 The No-Survivor Village
41 The Angry Survivor
42 Researcher’s Blues
45 Her Autumn
47 Your dress
51 The New Bedroom
52 Adila’s Apple
53 The Housewarming Gift
54 The Seventh Wedding Invitation
55 My English Years
56 The Picture
58 Our Different Worlds
59 My English Years
60 Time Out
61 Shetland, 1469
63 As Clouds Slide across the Sky
64 His Blue Sky
65 The Three Dancers, 1925
66 The Couple
66 The Husband
67 The Wife
70 A Day for Love
Reviews of Choman Hardi’s Life for Us:
‘Her subject is not a private, intimate one… but massive: ideological violence, the repression of an entire people, and how that impinges on the small, suffering individuals trying to make the best of what they can …the poems bear witness’ – Kathleen McDermott, The Dark Horse.
‘I have rarely read a book which so indisputably establishes the capacity of poetry to express the historical and political… Poetry makes something happen here; the book answers the poem’s question “Could you show me where that is on the map?” more memorably than any map or political analysis’ – Bernard O'Donoghue, Poetry London.
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