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Valentine’s Day, Syria, 2012[1]

by Mohja Kahf

Suwayda women, you’re so crafty
Fat red paper hearts you cut niftily
Paste pics of bashar on the pointy end
Color cattily: “We Don’t Love You” 
“bashar, We Shove You”
I love women who can work with hot glue

The Present Continuous Tense of the Caesar Photos[2]

by Mohja Kahf

The thing about the warehouse we are viewing
in these photos smuggled from Syria,
where we are seeing the abused bodies
of six thousand seven hundred eighty-six
prisoners being processed with plastic
wrap and ink on withered bellyskin,
is that the warehouse is still receiving corpses
packing tape screeching even now
shuddering a new length in its dispenser

[1] This poem was inspired by the following video:

[2] A cache of some 50,000 photos smuggled out of Syria in 2014 by a former military security photographer, pseudonym “Caesar,” whose job was to document prison deaths as part of the bureaucratic process of Syrian regime security institutions.

Photo Courtesy of Sara Elkamel

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