Morning in the Sunni Triangle

The sun rose over Ramadi: a pink eye,

an industrial fire. Just off the highway

to Baghdad, we waited behind a hatchback

for my Chechen friend. My contact,

an Iraqi, helped me pack the car

with all the necessary items, but nothing

behind the seat caught my eye; my friend,

nowhere in sight. The man stiffly

mused over a piece of paper, a checklist,

making sure I had everything I needed

and that I was, in fact, following Iraqi law.

The car, a beat-up old ‘70s-era compact,

was a dingy white, the color of all foreign cars

that one sees in old spy movies. He kept

eyeing the piece of paper to make sure

I would be okay. He had, I felt, nothing

but my best interest in mind. Before we

were about to leave, my friend appeared,

darker and shorter than I had remembered.

We exchanged jovial pleasantries;

we laughed nervously, kicked at the sand.

Before we left, my Iraqi host wanted to make

sure I had a gun. He said I not only needed protection

but also that it was the law. According to Iraqi law,

one had to have a gun to travel. He threw

a clear plastic bag at me, which I caught.

In it, I found a toy gun. I couldn’t even

get my finger in between the trigger

and the trigger guard. The Iraqi

assured me that I would need nothing

else besides the gun to travel.


2 Responses to “Morning in the Sunni Triangle”

  1. Poetry about war seems to be a theme. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I think that it puts things in a different perspective. It personalizes the war. I’m glad that you are including it here.

  2. Yeah, about that: I just figured that since the title of the blog is an explicit reference to foreign policy, this poem (and the other one I posted earlier) fit in. I’ve got a couple of others that are political. I might post them if their themes become topical.

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