Zaxo, from memory

Jerusalem of Kurdistan
A captive remnant
An island unto an island
Shaded by towering, uninhibited minarets.

Torah flowed like the Khabur
A thirst never fully quenched

Quieted by constant water’s flow
And splashing adolescents’ rites of passage

Oppressors are now the oppressed
Your neighbors still remember you
Your stories are still told

The streets still cry for Jerusalem
The Mahalla still calls for you

Cleaving to the dust of the Prophets
3,000 years washed away instantaneously
Neighborhors’ tears rolled into the river

The Mahalla stripped bare
Assyria is but a spec,
Ninevah lays in ruin,
Babylon is but a distant memory

Oppressors are now the oppressed
Your neighbors still remember you
Your stories are still told

The streets still cry for the remnant
The Mahalla still calls for you

Like the hardened hands of shepards tending their flocks
Khabur tends to its inhabitants
A gateway to other lands

Hollyhocks have bloomed anew
And Sharanish blesses every passing visitor
Hovering from afar, as a father with his children

Oppressors are now the oppressed
Your neighbors still remember you
Your stories are still told

The streets still cry for the remnant
The Mahalla still calls for you

Photo by Amed Sindi

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