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Tracy Fuad



After all, she is just a single raisin.
–Saddam Hussein


From sand
we have made bricks
and from bricks we have
made homes and in homes
we have made honor and honor
when broken is turned into shame
and shame can be punished
with stones and girls made
of stone turn back-
wards and back
into sand. 




But could one actually separate
form from substance, my king?
–Saddam Hussein


I held
the gun –
what else
was there
to do? It
to me: hello. 




Is it not the mouth that attracts
a man to a woman or repels him from her? 
–Saddam Hussein


I opened my lips
to let you inside
and you drove
a ribbon of tanks
down my throat. 



testimony of nadia murad

Text modified from excerpts of “Every Part of Me Changed In Their Hands: A Former ISIS Sex Slaves Speaks Out,” by Lara Whyte as published in Broadly on February 18th, 2016.


They arrived and told

us if we convert we could live,

but nobody converted. In August

people in our area were asked

to go to the school, which had

two floors. They took women,

girls, and children to the first floor,

and the men had to stay on the ground

floor. My nephews—we were trying

to bring them up with us. They made

the boys hold up their arms—if he

had hair they had to stay downstairs,

if they had no hair they could go

upstairs. When I was very young, we

were a very poor, but then my brothers

started to work and so we had a better

life. We had a big yard out the back—

half of the yard was for us, and half

was for our animals. History was

my favorite subject—I was very good

at memorizing what I was reading.

But now my memory is not the same,

I mix things up in my brain. I found

a small window so I climbed out and

jumped from the second story, but

one of Salman's guards found me

and brought be back to him. I could

have died jumping, and after that I wished

I had. Talking alone in a room will not

help me or my family. My other sister

with my three remaining brothers

are still living in the camp. Conditions

are still as bad—rotting dried food,

no water, no electricity. Four of my

brothers' wives remain with ISIS,

along with their children. Talking

to one person in private will not help

this. I feel very old now. I am 21—yes,

I know it is young. But I feel like every

part of me changed in their hands:

Every strand of hair on my head,

every part of my body got old. I got

worn out by what they did to me,

and now I am a totally different

in every way. I never imagined

that these things could happen,

and I can't really describe them

in a way to make you understand.




Tracy Fuad is a poet & essayist from Minnesota and an MFA candidate at Rutgers-Newark, where she also teaches writing. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Sixth Finch, Muzzle, Prelude, Verse Daily, BOAAT, and elsewhere, and she was the winner of the 2016 Montana Prize in Nonfiction.