Cimarron Review
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16 Iraqi Policemen
Brian Turner

The explosion left a hole in the roadbed
large enough to fit a mid-sized car.
It shattered concrete and twisted metal,
busted storefront windows in sheets
and lifted a car chassis up onto a rooftop.

Shock? This is a poetry of shock.
If shock is what happened. If shock is real.
If it is the blood of these men
taken from them to form an obscene art.
If it is a moustache, alone, on a sidewalk.
Or an arm with its hand blistered,
the wedding ring still shining in gold.
Or if it is a medic, Doc Lopez, pausing
simply to catch his breath, blowing it out,
hard, so that he can hold a small girl’s face
in one hand, gently, before bandaging
the half of her face gone missing.

Allah? God? I cannot find them here.
I think they wander in the crowd
as I am, dazed by the pure concussion
of the blast, among voices of over one hundred
injured, the sirens, the boots of soldiers running.
They may not know who to touch first,
for they cannot find the dead policemen
who were here a moment before, then vanished.

How will they ever take them to heaven,
if they cannot first be found here on Earth?

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