Monday 7 June 2010

Dikra Ridha's "Ordinary Evening"

Iraqi-British poet Dikra Ridha has an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa University; I'm proud to say she was my student. Here is a sample poem from her first pamphlet, There Are No Americans in Baghdad's Bird Market, published this month by Tall Lighthouse.

Ordinary Evening

The sound of a small spoon stirring cardamom tea clings
to the walls. When a hijacker in a filthy helmet opens
the door with a weapon you don't know, you become

an insect in your own home. Incapable of rushing,
unable to scream. You shiver, shake, welter
in the shell of your house. The second he steps

over your slippers and night gown, your smell changes.
A new sweat shields your body, limpid--foreseeing
the end of your prosperity; you existed a moment ago,

five thousand years ago, and diminishing. The hijacker
silences chatter in your ears and blackens the light
in your eyes. You're not dead yet but sure your death

is approaching. Afraid to blink for the weight of this belt,
you choose patience. He checks you out with his boots,
the foetus curl; your last security. He prods, knocks

you over; you fall to your side. He curses at you then turns
and roars his head to the ceiling and laps up your sky.
He takes the water from your bones. Your gold
ring is in his stomach. But wait. Wait.

Dikra Ridha

To order a copy of There Are No Americans in Baghdad's Bird Market, please order it from the publisher here.


  1. This is definitely a book to get. I've known Dikra since we did the M.A. for Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and have kept in touch ever since.

    It was a very grounding experience to have Dikra on the course, and I feel honoured to have lived with her poems from inception.

    With Words

  2. John Payne4:29 pm

    It's an excellent collection. Hard to believe it's her first. I shall be mentioning it in my forthcoming book about Bath.