Another Year, Marla

-on the second anniversary of the death of Marla Ruzicka,
an American aid worker killed in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq on April 16th, 2005.
Marla founded Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) in 2003. 

Each day of this war the body count
passes anonymous as an odometer tick.

We kick the tires, we turn the page.

Upstairs where my books breathe the article
that announced your death and life to me
sits clipped (wide Rolling Stone paper halved
and halved again) stirring like a fever dream
in my bookcase.

Marla, it’s another year for the sand of this war
to overrun the graves, fill in the craters, the details.

Another year you’ve fought to stay alive
among the books, paper rectangled carefully around
your picture—burgundy head scarf, your bold eyes
quiet to the new orphan holding her to sleep, maybe
I can hear you whisper

You’re not lost.
I see you,
you’re not lost.

In the Baghdad dissolve of carbon paper and
numbers Marla you moved from bombsite to bedside
naming the dead mouths, the astonished relatives.

So you lived in the collateral and then became it.
Another suicide blast, another film of smoke.

At night my infant daughter shakes this house,
I sit awake with her breath at my ear and at times
imagine your two, skinny arms screaming
out against the fold…
Shhh, you’re not lost, I’ve found you.
See, people always think we get lost
but you’ re not lost, I see you.
Remember this.


Image via Global Exchange

About Adam Grabowski

Adam Grabowski's work has appeared in The Rattling Wall, Beech St. Review, julibat, Off the Coast, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Voicemail Poems, Black Napkin, Meat for Tea, the Naugatuck River Review, the Wilderness House Literary Review and the DMQ Review. Adam received his MSW from Westfield State University in 2012 and was an organizer and poet with the mighty Northampton Poetry from 2014 to 2017, where he facilitated a bi-monthly workshop. His latest chapbook The Washing Our Hands EP was published in 2015. He lives with his family in Holyoke, MA. He brings pie to a knife fight. View all posts by Adam Grabowski

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