A Yezidi woman sits across from me

her eyes are flat black

like no eyes should look

as if her spirit has been sucked

backward through her body

to fly away somewhere else

somewhere safe





“Is it true?”

her handler asks me

“Is it true what ISIS did to the children?”

She starts to cry

great rolling tears

streaking her face black mourning mascara.


I seek safety inside myself

in a world that offers none.


Is it true?

is it true?


It is true.


I hear her voice

asking over and over

like the crows now cawing over mass graves

as the Yezidi woman gazes

but not at me.


Susan Notar

Susan Notar has flown over Iraq in helicopters wearing body armor and makes a mean beurre blanc sauce. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including Gyroscope, Written in Arlington, Antologia de Poemas Alianza Latina, Penumbra, Joys of the Table An Anthology of Culinary Verse, Springtime in Winter: An Ekphrastic Study in Art, Poetry, and Music. She works at the U.S. State Department helping vulnerable communities in the Middle East.

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