The Fruits of Halabja

The Fruits of Halabja

In the streets, trails of dust, ruddy
and black and yellow-green,
settled on them like the dew s of heaven

apple-sweet but acrid, and their eyes
were opened finally, fixed
sideways on dirt and the eternal.

Pompeiian bodies, frozen by a
fire too cruel to be natural,
children who had eaten breakfast

with their mothers took their
supper with their ancestors. In the
mountains, only insistent echoes

of silence, leaving the living
to pin “victim” or “martyr”
on a stiff breast. In poisoned

earth the wild fruits of Halabja
will grow, as stunted as memory
and as bitter as knowledge.