An Iraqi woman watches as soldiers from Delta Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment searches her home near Youssifiyah, 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of
(AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
Curse One: The Wraith
by Cynthia Huntington
You are a small shape of death crouched among leaves.
The twist of your red mouth is the torque of poison.
Tangle of leaves, spill of leaves, slow rot of leaves. . .
Misery, ruin, iniquity. You are the scuffling thing in dry grass.
Rodent, snail, the curly-legged spider, centipede, rat snake.
I see you by the back-hooded barbecue in November, brooding
like the smoke of burned meat. The fire in the coals gone out,
the sun hung low and weak in smoldering sky, cold
breath of winter. You are all smoke breath, grief, and conniving.
You are the alien thing invading my garden, a haunt, a plague,
lurking beyond light and warmth, there in the shadows wearing
death inside out, a curse on the sky. You are a spot, a flaw, a
blotch and a stain on the world you corrupt and I hate
you and fear you and look for you everywhere with dread.