Mass by Taher Adel (Lucent Dreaming Issue 6)

The 1991 uprisings were a series of popular rebellions in Iraq between March and April 1991.
“By some estimates, 100,000 people died in reprisal killings between March and September” – The Washington Post

Even if nobody visits,
tomb stones remain guarding the night like
coordinates in a constellation.
Once the earth spins enough
on its axis and the planets align
each star has its day to shine more brightly
I’m not to be forgotten.
But what of those, in unmarked graves?
Loved men lost in a sea of unknown limbs
but where do we begin to sift?
when bodies are found scattered
side by side, like a deck of cards laid out
an abandoned magic trick
distinguished by the shape of the bullets
This lot here were killed in April by a Zastava M84
skulls with identical bullet holes
but none look like our king of hearts
maybe he’s in another grave site?
Years later and we still polish your shoes
and leave them by the door.
Your remains were never found
so, we remain waiting.
Maybe for our sake you’ll return,
your daughter is a woman now
I’m sure you’ll recognise her by her eyes
they are exactly how you left them,
they are exactly yours

Galbraith, P W. (2003) ‘The Ghosts of 1991’, The Washington Post. Available at:

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Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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