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Mary Dorcey A Woman in another war

Somedays when we kiss
we close our eyes.
Somedays when we close our eyes
we kiss.
Somedays we do not read the newspaper.

A woman was getting on a bus,
I was reading the newspaper.
The woman carried a baby in a carry cot –
Mind your step, another woman said,
and offered her a seat.

I was reading the newspaper –
I was reading the story
of a woman in another country,
a woman in another war.
The story of a woman
who was raped by soldiers.

The soldiers came into her town.
They ordered the women into the street,
they told them to lie on the ground.
They made them lie in rows
and the soldiers raped them
in rows.
One woman after another.
One soldier after another.

One of the women
had a baby,
a newborn baby.
It lay on the earth beside her.
It cried to be fed.
She heard it cry.
She asked the man who was raping her
to stop – to stop
long enough to let her
feed the child.

Bring me my child, she said.
The man stopped.
He got up from her body
and lifted the baby.
He carried it in his arms,
he held it over her.
He took out a knife,
he smiled.
He cut the child’s neck from his shoulders
and held the bleeding head
to the woman’s breast:
Here’s your baby, he said,
feed it.

There was a woman in another country,
a woman in another war.
The soldiers came into the town,
they ordered the women into the streets.
They raped them one after another,
row after row;
one soldier after another,
one woman after another.

The woman on the bus
was helped by another
to sit down.
She lifted the baby
from its cot.
You have to be careful of the head,
the other woman said.
Yes, the woman answered
and with her hand
she cradled the baby’s head.

Somedays when we kiss
we close our eyes.
Somedays when we close our eyes
we kiss.
Somedays we don’t read the newspaper.

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