Jason Irwin

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In the early hours she says her prayer beads,
sweeps the front stoop and looks out
over the ruins of concrete and dirt
that surround her, towards the sea
that sparkles like jewelry in a window she knows
she will never be able to afford.

When her chores are done
she goes inside and brews tea
for her father, who sleeps in the next room.
She watches him, as if he were the child
and she the mother, trying to protect him
from all the pain outside their door.
He sleeps on his side, dreaming of a time
when there will be no more checkpoints,
with soldiers carrying machine guns,
no identity cards, or bulldozers destroying homes;
a time when everyone will be able to enjoy
a day at the beach, after sharing a cup of tea.

Later in the day,
she will go to the marketplace
and turn herself into a bomb,
hoping that her sacrifice will mean more
than her life.


Jason Irwin grew up in Dunkirk, NY and now lives in Pittsburgh, PA. He earned an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2004. "Watering the Dead," his first full-length collection, won the 2006/2007 Transcontinental Poetry Award and was published in 2008 by Pavement Saw Press. "Some Days It's A Love Story" won the 2005 Slipstream Press Chapbook Prize. His poem “Main Street” was nominated for a Pushcart in 2005. Most recently he has had work published in Grey Sparrow, Sliver of Stone & Future Cycle Press’ anthology American Society: What Poets See.