Anything is better than civil war

A hot summer, even for Baghdad.
The Tigris drops. Sea grass under the bridges.
'Are you a river?' asked Al-Sayyab, 'or a forest of tears?'

They only found 83 bodies last week.

Rebar and concrete husks punched through by rockets.
Facades wrapped around hot air and broken furniture.
A hundred miles of concrete, and the wooden stock, warn smooth under his hand.

Exhale, and count the beats against his wrist.
Once more before we die - a lungful of Anbar's fine dust, and a mouthful of Tigris water. . .
'If I could, I would drink the whole river.'

16 buried in shallow graves
40 ripped apart by car bombs
18 in suicide attacks
9 by small arms fire

These years taught us calculations we never should have made:

A dictatorship is better than an occupation, but anything, anything is better than civil war.