You Made the Iraqis Their Scarves.
You Made the Iraqis Their Scarves For Doctor Pat McKay When limbs are lost who stops to think of clothing thrown away Who knows the shame of sheltered girls on sudden public display? And so within the non-combatants' ward they neither prayed nor shrank from pork but showed their skin with vacant-eyed sang-froid knowing that since the world had burned alive it didn't matter. You came out of the O.R. night after night and wrote your orders just as the men would do but then, instead of clumping off to bed or getting drunk on bootleg DVDs You'd find a place no one could observe bring out an ancient Singer sewing machine and squares of silk left over from a quilt the nurses made to celebrate our work And there each night like the breath of a word You'd sew, quietly sew as the ocean weaves a reef together after a storm binding polyps and tiny fish bringing grass back together with stone with overflowing largesse of patience because the vast inhuman cost of life exists to make things whole. The day you brought the scarves down they pressed your hands and those not maimed tied scarves around the heads of friends who couldn't move (silk to die for new to those dust-colored homes only the F- 18s had deemed worth bombing) Those who thought they could no longer weep wept to feel the touch of simple cloth And they were once again sacred women.
Frederick Foote is a physician who practices in Bethesda, Maryland. His work has appeared in Commonweal, JAMA, and other publications. His e-mail is fofoote@bethesda, med. navy. mil.
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|Date:||Feb 1, 2007|
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