Nidal Hussain clutches a shopping bag as she crosses the four-lane street, weaving through cars and trucks that inch along a main thoroughfare in central Baghdad.
It's late morning under a sweltering sun, and Hussain has joined men, women and children walking to a market where canopied stalls line sidewalks and sometimes spill into the street. It's part of her near daily ritual of buying fresh bread, vegetables, fruits and fish to feed her family.
She steps over broken concrete and puddles of fetid water to get to the Karrada market, named for the central Baghdad neighborhood where it sits.
"Shetreed," a vegetable seller asks Hussain. What do you want?
She inspects a tomato from a green plastic crate, puts it back and chooses another.
Some of these are not that good, she says.
What do you expect with all the trouble? he says.
In just the last month, large swaths of Iraq have been overrun by militants so vicious they crucify and behead people and then brag about it online. They have imposed a strict version of Islamic law on tens of thousands of Iraqis.
The fiercest fighting has unfolded in the north and west of Iraq, but the militants have vowed to strike the capital farther south, too. Their violent ascent – and the government's counterattack – have altered the rhythms of everyday life for millions of people around Iraq, even those not directly in the line of fire.
Look a little closer at the market, listen to the conversations and you can see it.
It's in the quality of food: Tomatoes, cucumbers and onions that have sat out one day too long.
Read - Signs of War