by Jane Moss-Luffrum
On July 13th, 2014, the murdered bodies of twenty-eight women and five men killed by religious militias were retrieved from two apartments, said to be sites of prostitution, in Zayouna, eastern Baghdad, and delivered to a city morgue.
Streets and brothels are pastel from bomb dust;
the air is high with five who didn’t make it,
and twenty eight whose fate is just to rust.
One’s fifteen and last week learned to fake it.
The militias mushroom throughout Iraq,
their machinery is cleaning up Baghdad.
There’s Nafia’s abaya, she’s not coming back,
and neither are the apostates she’s had.
They and their killers, wretched and ruthless;
all running frantic, afraid and lawless.
Inside the morgue, her mouth stoved in, toothless,
yet round the eyes, Nafia’s make -up’s flawless.
They left Muzna’s teeth, which were long neglected,
and she will never ever be collected.
Jane Moss-Luffrum has lived in Cumbria since 1983. A former university teacher, her interests are poetry, art and photography. She generally writes free verse, but the poem ‘Zayouna’ addresses an aspect of a serious contemporary issue using classic sonnet form and rhyme.