poem of the day: Iraqis and Other Monsters by Dunya Mikhail

Iraqis and Other Monsters

Dunya Mikhail

They are scary beings.
They have dark, dangling heads.
They roam the desert
in bulls’ and lions’ skins,
their wide eyes glittering with swords.
They rub their moustaches when they promise,
or threaten,
or flirt.
From their giant noses
a lot of smoke pours out
and rises to the sky.
They shake the earth with such strength
the dead wake up.
They live in darkness
with no water or electricity.
Dust is their food and clay is their bread.
They never sleep or rest.
They have weird habits 
the Sunni say the Shia all have tails;
the Shia carry keys to heaven in their pockets
in case they should suddenly die;
the Kurds take to the mountains when they fight and
when they dance the dabka;
the Chaldeans consult the stars to make decisions;
the Assyrians stick feathers on their heads
to prove they’ve defeated the eagle;
the Armenians throw themselves into the river
whenever they get annoyed;
the Turks keep hoping
the Sultan will return;
the Mandais celebrate their festivals
by staying three days at home;
the Yezidis honor the Devil
and revere the lettuce.
Iraqis and other monsters
(at sunset,
whenever guns are silent)
take their harps out of boxes
and all of them play
for the missing
until morning.