Three Poems

A painting of a woman's face, composed of mostly angular lines
Ismail Khayat, A Girl, 2015, Sulaimani, 40 x 27, acrylic paint and colored pencils on paper

You in Me

On the shore of the warm sea
I stand
My heels kiss your shores
I lift my dress to my knees
A wave
Tosses your pearl to me

Stretch out a hand
You grow in me
Turn out the light
We become three


Letting Go

In the mirror
I see my mother’s broken face
I grab lipstick
There are scents of things of people

A crack keeps me from myself
Mother’s hands
Fall on my shoulders

The scent of hands
And my scent blend
So, I am broken
In the mirror

The lipstick falls to the floor and
In the cracked mirror
I become my mother’s memory



I hold the pistol to my heart
My hand over a place in my mind
One two three
When I know you are here
The numbers reverse
Three two one
My finger loosens

Disturb my work

Hero Kurda, a pen name she chose, was born Hero Husam ad-Din in Kirkuk in 1989. She has published two books: I Burn in the Season of Flight (2008) and I Write Yusif (2013). In 2017 she received her master’s degree in contemporary literature from Charmo University. She currently lives and works as a teacher in Kirkuk. She is a mother of a little girl.

Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse is a poet, translator, and assistant professor. She serves as the director of Kashkul (see WLT, July 2018) and the Slemani UNESCO City of Literature.

Pshtewan Kamal Babakir is an archivist, filmmaker, and translator at Kashkul.

Shene Mohammed is the assistant director at Kashkul, where she also works as an archivist, translator, and literary critic.