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.
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?
from Appetites of Love (Bloodaxe, 2001), copyright © Elizabeth Bartlett 2005, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books Ltd.