Jennifer Habel is the author of Good Reason, winner of the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition. Her poems have appeared in the Believer, Gulf Coast, the Massachusetts Review, the Southeast Review, and elsewhere.
Marcus Weems was the sixth-richest man in the state of Alabama, but he lost his wife to cancer like everybody else. Of course he brought the full leverage of his affluence to bear on her condition—Sloan Kettering, Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson, names of hospitals like the board of directors for some conglomerate of suffering . . .
Mosul once held all communities, all minorities. Our city of peace. The Mother of Two Springs. Ninewa. Mosul. So many names. When Daesh held Mosul, the bombings were constant. We went underground, but the birds I kept couldn’t go anywhere. I had Chinese chickens, cockatiels, lovebirds, pigeons, finches. Before Daesh, I had fifty-eight lovebirds.
A plague of feral peafowl in the garden (I know—who knew?) now decimates the grapes, Makes salad of the young geraniums, Kerfuffling dust-baths in denuded planters. They leave ubiquitous piles of poo, as drab As any other poo. They make that sound As if of something throttled in the jungle, Or honk to out-goose geese.