(for Dikra)

I left my blood

in America,

having once believed

I could not live

without it. More than

four thousand miles,

mostly Atlantic,

my soul stretched

the distance,

whose fearful face

separated me from

my own, yet a

threefold cord is

not quickly broken—

like the priceless

one that binds you

to your grandmother

in Baghdad.  Still,

I wonder if you know

how beautiful you are.

From your easy lips

syllables floated

with elegance,

gently, as soft as

dove’s down,


as gold,

hot, fresh

from the crucible

of your soul,

precious ore


I felt the drawing

like Jesus sensed

strength leave him

when the woman

with an issue of blood

touched His garment and

was healed,

I felt the drawing.

I am no Jesus, but

I leaned in to hear

your soul’s whisper

rise like the cry

of Abel’s blood

from the earth

that were it up

to us rather than


we would teach

our children’s

hands to war                      

no more.

Mary E. Kocher