This is the fourth book of poetry-the first translated into English-from Iraqi poet Mikhail, who fled to the United States in the mid-1990s after being harassed by the authorities. Here, she captures the essence of the cruel and inhumane in life. She writes of the destructiveness caused by a tyrannical regime and two prolonged wars that crippled her country and deepened the sense of loss among its people: "Yesterday I lost a country/ I was in a hurry/ and didn't notice when it fell from me/ like a broken branch from a forgetful tree." In voicing her pain, concerns, and hopes, she employs a direct language devoid of complicated imagery. Mikhail ponders the question of whether the poetic text is parallel to and richer than life or an extension and representation of it but seems to lean toward the latter. Not without a sense of irony and sarcasm, she also incorporates cinematic techniques to depict a strong yearning for life, which is nevertheless infiltrated by horror. Translator Winslow won a 2004 PEN American award to bring this into English; highly recommended.-Sadiq Alkoriji, Tomball Coll. & Community Lib., Harris Cty., TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.