Sunday Poem

To an Iraqi Infant

do you know
that your mother's nipples
are dry bones?
that her breasts
are bursting
with depleted uranium?

do you know
that the womb's window
a confiscated land?

do you know
that your tomorrow
has no tomorrow?
that your blood
is the ink
of new maps?

do you know
that your mother is weaving
the slowness of her moments
into an elegy?
And she is already
mourning you?

don't be shy!
your funeral is over
the tears are dry
everyone's gone

come forward!
it's only a short way
don't be late
your grave is looking
at its watch!

don't be afraid!
We'll arrange your bones
which ever way you want
and leave your skull
like a flower
on top

come forward!
your many friends await
there are more every day
. . .
your ghosts
will play together

come on!

by Sinan Antoon
December 2002
Translated from the Iraqi by the poet