blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2009  Vol. 9. No. 2






Sabrina Harman, Soldier in the 372nd Military Police Company,
Poses In Front of the Body of Manadel al-Jamadi at Abu Ghraib Prison


Unzip the body bag; then rustle through
A second layer of heavy plastic. Pull

It down to unwrap the face: a Russian doll
With duct-taped eyes,
                                    mouth a puckered o,

Hawk nose, shaved head paisley-ed with contusion.
Twist it slightly for a better angle.

Now we’re talking Smile Sabrina Smile.
& the latex glove, hovering thumbs up—the punctum

Arranging everything, like Mousterian tools
In a test trench.
                           Shanidar cave: a Neanderthal male,

Half-blind with a withered arm, impossibly old
At forty, receives his grave-goods—armloads

Of burdock, cornflower, hollyhock.
                                                      & a cache of flints
For the perilous & beflowered afterlife.

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