k  a  i  a  s  a  n  d

L e t t e r   t o   L a y l a    a l - A t t a r

among us can imagine ourselves
                    Lucille Clifton

your daughter bombed
blind, you, dead.
Pilots, fouled by speed,
troll your crescent.

Bound by
bafflement, happy-
go-lucky, we are criminal,
thieving fortunes like
desktop playthings.

My national identity
speaks for me, across
nal boundaries,
to the dead
end of this imperialist

z o e t r o p e

for Neal Sand

quickly undone
like egos like hairdos
like shantytowns

because it isn’t like a scientific look at the sky
nor an accurate diagram of the human eye

but maybe it’s like the flickers
that yielded the first motion pictures

a photograph bleached in thirds
sunlight spectra     aftereffects      low luminance

a mirror turned on the sun turn on

a sustained and transient

                    to turn a life

quickly undone
we call
come back come back

we’re older than the movies

«±  ±»

A note about Layla al-Attar: On June 27, 1993, Iraqi artist Layla al-Attar, her husband, Abdulkhaliq Juraidan, and their housekeeper (who was never named in any news reports I have read on the tragedy) were all killed in a United States missile attack on Baghdad ordered by President Bill Clinton in retaliation for an alleged assassination attempt on George Bush, Sr. These were reportedly the first civilian deaths Clinton was responsible for as president.

KAIA SAND is the author of interval, EDGE BOOKS, 2004. She co-edits The Tangent, a zine of politics and the arts