Poem introduction

This poem is about a small girl called Irma who was flown from Kosovo to a children's hospital in London but who died here in England. And the 'I' of the poem is the voice of Irma herself.

Enemies

Enemies

I do not know who my enemies are.
Is he Shrap Nel. He is sharp
and he bites me. It was he
who opened the door to Menin
Gococci. You can see him
under a microscope, if you care to look.
They say I am fighting him,
But I don't know who I am fighting.
Am I, then, an animal in a circus?
I can levitate, with others like me
and fly to In Tensive Care.
How do you say that?
My mother has gone away,
my father strokes my aching head
as I rush in and out of the dark.
I am called Irma, one of the chosen,
and I have an Oper Ation
named after me. Oper Ations
are what I know about, as they free me
from Shrap Nel and send in Anti Biotics
to fight the bad Menin Gococci.
If I live I shall be Muslim.
If I die, war will be my enemy,
culler of the cutest, PR job.
Is he an enemy too?
So many.


from Appetites of Love (Bloodaxe, 2001), copyright © Elizabeth Bartlett 2001, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books Ltd

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1My Five Gentleman

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2Painting of a Bedroom with Cats

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3Design

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4Disposing of Ashes

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5The Visitors

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6999 Call

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7Charlotte, Her Book

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8Stretch Marks

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9To Tracy with Love

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10Egg Tempera

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11Art Class

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12Entering Language

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13Themes for Women

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14The Limbo Line

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15Notes for a Thesis on the Thirties

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16The Winter Gardens

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17North Terminal

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18The Harrods of Porth

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19Deutschmarks and Lemon Trees

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20Legends and Realities

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21Abstract

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22The Winter's Tale

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23Sunflower

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24Mine

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25The Lace Maker

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26The Beautiful Knees of the Visiting Lay Preacher

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27Schadenfreude

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28Enemies

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29The Geldings

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30Vikings

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Books by Elizabeth Bartlett