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Srebrenica Suite

Susan Ioannou
First appeared in Vintage 1994, League of Canadian Poets, 1995.
Reprinted from:   Where the Light Waits. Victoria, BC: Ekstasis Editions, 1996


1. Bombed

In the blown-out wall
midnight's dragonflies

rise with sparks
to blacken the moon.

2. To a Bride of War

I lay the lilies of hate, my love,
along your bloodied hair.
From twisted foot and crumpled dress
the blue bruise crawling up your cheek
collapses a last breath.
May long white petals perfume your death.

Rubble is your marriage bed.
Blackened beams let in the sky.
Frost fills an emptied shoe.

Sleep quiet
though new thunder splits
this battered rock, and air bursts red.

I lay these lilies by your head
to wed you with old earth.

3. The Abandoned Hospital

Bone-withered,
their eyes are like peeled eggs
turning black, and back
inside half-emptied skulls.

Fingers, red lumps puffed with cold,
cannot hold even tatters
over transparent skin.

Pieces of selves, not people,
their fireworked nerves shudder.
Above, the fractured moon
dangles its sparking cord.

4. Survivor

Each night,
a black-scarved woman
squats by the riverbank.

Her small net
splashes and crawls
-- a boot? a bone?

Behind,
barbed wire
catches the moon.

5. After the Raid

No clear deep pool
where pebbles shiver
but a looking glass steamed over

her face floats up nothing.

6. Torturer

We expect a face
that could splinter mirrors:
nose, a long interrogation point,
eyes, sharpened skewers,
mouth, a red sneer,

but after shrieks' steel in the bone,
not his casual turning away,
the half-hidden yawn.


Susan Ioannou's works copyright © to the author.


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