One day I'll say I love you
He seems so sane
and ethical. Rides a bike
to the college and lectures
with elbow patches piquing
low-rise jeans, makes men
rub their chins to guess
at a beard. Philosophy
or any caved notion
was so possible.
He'd allow me to grade
term papers, and the red pen
slashed scratch paper for him
to ignore, but be pleased.
Never a judgment, no remembrance
of a harsh word, he saved me
from my fathers -- or lack thereof.
Barbeque shrimp for my birthday;
and as a gourmet with only perrier
in the fridge and no television,
he'd think it a compliment
when I'd run past the tofu triangles
and steal. Not sure if it was the food
or if it was the culture that intrigued.
One day, if I ever marry,
I sometimes envision:
three steps for years with the biological,
five or six with the adoptive,
and the rest with him
down the aisle
to give me away.
Hear the whistle of the missiles, tearing for the damned;
spread the news of people used to spare us though they're damned.
Early one morning, we brought soap and tampons for the women.
Refusing, they made foot bread, told us of sons the fathers damned.
A starry night flooded riverbeds with light right to the base,
and they might find us by sunrise roasting toast of the damned.
We have friends that speak in Dari, and we're wary of translation
because our fruits are always looted -- because they know we're damned.
"My buddy's in a foxhole, a bullet in his head, they've come..."
Cover your throat, march along, and hover high above the damned.
Promote those soldiers below you, and send your gripes on up.
You don't love your children enough to forget all those you damned.
The lieutenant can love a private almost as much as she loves you,
but there's no substitute for your dick, the missing flute of the damned.
The porch ceiling was robin's egg blue
much like a tepid sky. We sit there for hours
yammering on and on about exes and lovers
never quite good enough for either of us.
The question was how to avoid the mistakes:
swinging not an option, and I should smile
in pictures, you should save me though
it's not your nature, we need to be apart
enough to have kissing sex -- not just fucking.
The garden needs to be raked out for roses;
and you'd do what you could because you loved
the colors and my green thumb. A sidewalk
will be fashioned to include several beds
for my desires and for your entertainment
at a little woman digging in the grubby earth
to plant thyme and rosemary. Don't you dare
go and leave me to my own devices, because
I'd never grow anything and put nail holes
in all the walls -- wind chimes in the house.
When you get back from Iraq,
there won't be any of that sentimental
mush or gushes of how much I missed
the easiness of evenings. Nothing
of nightmares battled on the couch,
or how I ghosted a vision of you napping --
face turned to rest on suede, familiar
cross of ankles, a study to bring sleep.
No recounts of drunken letters
and never a catching-up, forceful drown
of stories, of litter you'd not quite get
the intent behind. I won't make you dinner,
and there won't be a butcher banner
held up as proof of your place.
Look for me at the gate. In a black
trench: hands curled in the pockets of sobs,
patent heels of new, auburn locks to pick
strewn as barely- brushed copper, me
naked, trembling against the shroud,
with no words at all, with only the glint
of the girl you knew shining through.
Mother, soldier, writer, lover and overall fulfilled person.