Barbara Ungar

Rondeau for Shaimaa al-Sabbagh

Their birdshot pierced the lung and heart
of a songbird. Its simple start
the Spring chant—freedom justice bread—
and a wreath of flowers for the dead
of Tahrir Square. Playing their part,

masked police fired on her party
with guns and gas. Her eyes smarted
yet she stood till her face streamed red.
Their birdshot pierced

her. A friend caught her fall, departed
bearing all her unmade years and art.
Bullets fired close range in crowded
Cairo—narrow streets choked with dread
where this young woman poet bled
to death. Long range, too, our hearts
their birdshot pierced.