Cordon & Search

She stands with her right leg slightly forward,
Cocked back with the weight of her body
Resting entirely on her left leg. I can see the outline
Of it in her orange dress. Orange with floral in blues,
Yellows and greens. Her left hand on that hip, elbow cocked
Right arm outstretched, palm to the sky angrily
Gesturing only two feet from me; Hazel eyes stare daggers.
I glance over at her as she waves her hand wildly,
Sternly shouting what I can only imagine are vast amounts
Of obscenities at me, with a hint of sarcasm.

“Are you enjoying this?” I picture her saying –
“Is it not bad enough you intrude on my family’s meal?”
I rifle around through another dresser drawer; a routine
Search of this neighborhood, house to house.
In the next drawer are more bras and panties. Shiny
Satin, some rather elegant, lacy. Not at all what I expected
I would find in an Iraqi woman’s wardrobe let alone
What might be under that floral hajib at this very moment.
Our eyes meet as I think it, and the look on her face speaks volumes.

Somewhere else in the house are the thuds of things
Being tossed to the floor; chatter of the men as they search.
“Do you like those, American? Eh?” her thick, guttural
Words, acrid as they roll off her tongue and onto
The floor. They are lost on me. “This is why you came to my country?
Into my home? To dig through my under garments?”

She chuckles one frustratingly brief moment as she shakes her head.
I close the middle drawer and begin to rifle through the top drawer
Touching her stockings I glance up at her, my left
Hand grasping a pile of her womanhood. She shifts on her heel
Her other hip out, dropping her right arm, letting it slap
On her thigh and exhaling coarsely as she looks away;
Angry embarrassment. ‘This room is clear’ I say shutting
The dresser drawers, making for the door where a soldier
Stands. “Of course it is you asshole!” she must be saying as
She follows me out of the bedroom in the same way
That she followed me in; hazel eyes drilling a hole through
The back of my vest’s Kevlar collar and into my skull.

With the house called clean we move out into the courtyard
As her slender figure is on my heels. ‘Shukran’ I quickly thank her,
Not wanting to look at her anymore, perhaps out of my own embarrassment.
Our awkward intrusiveness now ending, words spit as we depart;
“Disgrace can only be washed away with blood!”

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
This entry was posted in War Poetry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Cordon & Search

  1. Okay, it’s official. You’re definitely a writer, whether you want to be or not.

    This one had me on edge, wondering if you’d find a grenade or absolutely nothing but a lot of embarrassment. Incredible description and tension throughout.

    Keep writing, for sure!!


    • Ha! Thanks my friend. That day, no. But maybe I’ll write about the woman in the backseat of a car we stopped once who (when questioned directly) produced an RPK from somewhere under her jilbab… Stunned to say the least.


      • Holy crap!! Yeah, you’ll have to share that story some day, though I imagine it’s not a good ending for any of the parties involved.


        • Actually – We just let her go. Detained the two guys with her and said ‘sweetheart I hope you know how to drive a car because we’re leaving now’. So she got back in the car (the drivers seat this time) and went on her merry way. If anything we were shocked she had the damn thing wherever it was! Everyone involved literally stopped talking and just kind of paused. We were surprised; her husband and brother-in-law were shocked but nervous because they knew the jig was up.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s