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In Memory of Shafilea Ahmed   (Protagoras, February 4, 2008)

In England women are in season now,
And pheasant too. On every country road
Stand turbanned men in English country green
With shooting sticks, with telescopic sights,
With dogs and spotlights as they beat the game
North to the Duddon where we found her corpse
Rotted, crow-pecked, fox-gnawed beneath the leaves
Caught in a thicket of the foam flecked gorse.

Later they hang the spoils upon their stalls
Of honorable hunts by men of honour.
Its trading season too. Daughters must be,
Like frisky cattle, bred at their first heat
Or beaten to be tender and then butchered
For ready export markets back at home
One held me down, she said, the other hit me.

Our public poets speak of public things
But will not eulogize her rotten fate
And so it falls to me these frozen days
To walk with gunfire in our hungry fields
To watch the tame bred birds fall from the sky
To feel our language shift under my feet
And call to you how, and in what strange a time,
Child murder came to be our English honour.

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