Hearing of Alia Muhammed Baker’s Stroke
How a Basra librarian
could haul the books each night,
load by load, into her car,
the war ticking like a clock
about to wake. Her small house
swimming in them. How, the British
now crossing the limits
of Basra, the neighbors struck
a chain to pass the bags of books
over the wall, into a restaurant,
until she could bring them all,
like sandbags, into her home,
some thirty thousand of them,
before the library, and her brain,
could finally flood into flame.
Copyright © 2014 by Philip Metres. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.
Metres is the author of four poetry collections: Pictures at an Exhibition (University of Akron Press, 2016); Sand Opera (Alice James Books, 2015); A Concordance of Leaves (Diode Editions, 2013), winner of the 2014 Arab American Book Award; and To See the Earth (Cleveland State University Press, 2008).
Date Published: 2016-03-24
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/hearing-alia-muhammed-bakers-stroke