Come to Chicago; Iraq is Burning

In my country there are always fires
She said without a trace of irony

In my country there is always war
She said in that clipped arrogant way
That only a nine-year old girl born in Chicago can speak

I was born in Iraq but we moved to Jordan when I was two
Maybe it was three – no it was two – I was two years old

Then we moved here to Chicago four years ago

I’m not afraid of fire I have seen it so much
It doesn’t bother me

Later she hugged me hard around my waist
She told me I was glue – we laughed – glue
She made us both feel safe for a minute

For that one May morning moment on Winona Avenue
There were no more fires – great or otherwise
There was no more war – no anger – no hatred

She skipped across the playground
In that graceless way
That only a nine-year old girl from Chicago can skip

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