Audio Poetry:

Sonora

Keys View

by Wayne David Hubbard

Story:

I carry gardens inside of me. 

Twenty years ago, it was spring in Iraq. And there was a war.

A patch of yellow blooms sprouted near a concrete wall inside my barricaded compound.

Between work breaks of filling sandbags and burning waste, I arranged stones to protect the flowers, hoping no one would tread them down. I called it my garden. I watered it faithfully, every dawn and dusk.

The flowers survived a few weeks, before a fierce heat took them away.

Twenty years have passed. The war is scarcely mentioned.

I think often of those hardy yellow flowers.

~ WDH

Photo Notes:

These photographs were taken by Timothy Rushton at Camp Korean Village, Al Anbar, Iraq in 2004. This small base was located far west of Baghdad, past Ar Rutbah on Highway 1 at a fork in the road. One road led to Syria and the other to Jordan. Today, these images and stories are archived at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Poetry Notes:

Sonora is in dedication to Sergio Sonora of Carrizo Springs, Texas. He was a good friend and great marine who passed away in 2021. Keys View was written at an overlook of the Coachella Valley in Joshua Tree National Park, California, where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet.