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Baghdad 2015

by Amy Sexauer

Today
Under the swaying fronds of lofty palm trees
I think about all the eyes that have closed for the last time
Under these dusty drifting branches
There are birds in Baghdad
And tiny flowers pink orange and yellow
And I wonder if the rain that raised these flowers
Has washed away the blood from stained stones
Everything breaks
And everyone dies
But how long does it take the spirit of war to fade from a place

I ride in the back of a heavy SUV
In my ironed shirt and slacks
Coffee cup
Silvano sunglasses
And I pass
Block by block
It stills smells like violence
Thick in the air
Between gray walled homes
And mundane traffic accidents
A million different scenes play out
Hallucinations dancing atop my vision
The shiny teeth of young men as they stand in front of flags
For the only photo I will every know them by
What would their mothers think
To see this place now
Their friends are still here
They keep coming back because they can never really leave
But their pain and their anger
Infects the air
This land cant move on and cant let go
Because people wont forgive
And people wont heal

Captain Amy Sexauer is a writer and poet still serving on active duty in the Special Operations community. She commissioned from the United States Military Academy in 2009, and has deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan.

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