Hanging Gardens

I write about Iraq
when her skin was
carmine, perfumed with
freshly picked celosias
wild pear petals in the morning,
and crushed saffron by noon

I write about Iraq
when her lusty roads were paved
with children walking to school,
and when her heart
pumped mazarine water
from the Euphrates in the west
and the Tigris in the east

I write about Iraq
when women would gallop
through olivine fields and write feverishly
under the shade of a palm tree
(and still make it home for dinner)

I write about Iraq
and the open air markets
men screaming out wares
and fabrics, gossamer gowns
drinking pomegranate juice
as the call to prayer echoes into the night
the crescent moon flickering like a candle

I write about Iraq
when missiles began to rain down
on doctors treating the diseased
and politics ravaged villages
full of hardworking descendants
of Nebuchadnezzar, and Sargon the Great

I write about Iraq
because she lost her pen,
in the rubble of a small shack
while searching for the paper
in a gilded gold palace
in Baghdad