It should have been depressing, living with forty families from the impoverished Iraqi countryside—ravaged by American-made land mines, littered with the remains of radioactive American bomb casings, and now sprayed with insurgent gunfire and IEDs. I was sure I would be so distraught by the deformities of these children that I wouldn’t be able to look at them, let alone help them.I volunteered anyway, because I needed to do something for this country that my country had invaded, for these families in need so close to my new Jordanian home.
In 2005, I spent ten days in a hotel with forty Iraqi families. I met the most remarkable women and children (and men!) on that short volunteer assignment. My story of some of these children and their mothers appears in the January 2017 issue of New Madrid Journal, the literary magazine of Murray State College.
Unlike my two previous publications, the poem and “That Other Hijab Story,” New Madrid asked for revisions and put me to work with a Murray State creative writing professor. I had forgotten what a pleasure it can be to work with a professional writing teacher to craft something good into something better. So thanks, Allen!
The Winter 2017 edition of New Madrid Journal is now available here!