A Muslim Shiite Iraqi pilgrim injured in a car bomb attack in the central town of Hilla on 6 March, rests at Baghdad's Yarmuk hospital. Shiite pilgrims ran a gauntlet of sectarian attacks as the toll from a previous suicide bombing rose to 117, amid fears that a backlash could undermine the US-led Baghdad security plan.
Birds Appearing In A Dream
by Michael Collier
One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi,
another a tail of color-coded wires.
One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings,
another a flicker with a wounded head.
All flew like leaves fluttering to escape,
bright, circulating in burning air,
and all returned when the air cleared.
One was a kingfisher trapped in its bower,
deep in the ground, miles from water.
Everything is real and everything isn’t.
Some had names and some didn’t.
Named and nameless shapes of birds,
at night my hand can touch your feathers
and then I wipe the vernix from your wings,
you who have made bright things from shadows,
you who have crossed the distances to roost in me.