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In the Displacement Camp

In the Displacement Camp

You sit there and look at me.

In that look is all of life,

pared down to the eyes of one woman

who sits on the ground

in an echoing, empty tent.

You’re surrounded

by the discarded rubbish

of all those who have already been moved.

Why not you?


you sit cross-legged on a mat.

Your infant son lies across your knees,


I hope asleep.

You don’t move,

cry out,


Instead you look

over the scarf that covers your face.

Contained in your looking,

and in the child across your knee

is the pain

of every woman

who has borne a child

into a world of injustice

and pain.

You have been there

since the beginning of time.

How long will you have to wait?

The piece is inspired by a photograph of a woman in a displacement camp in Mosul, Iraq. The photograph was taken by David Pratt (below)

Jen Gray has had work published online and in print, most recently in Janet Paisley: Growing and Dying, edited by Linda Jackson, and in Postbox Magazine, edited by Colin Will.

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