Dulce de Leche
Taste of cold, iced coffee-
ice cream caramel-
jasmine, white of blossom, silver-toned.
Photos of family on table
rest by glass of java.
They have lived on this hill since before the wars.
They hang on like leaves closing their eyes against the fall.
One daughter is a mouth fed by another man now.
Another daughter has purchased a pair of gold stiletto heels, cradles them
in her book bag down the rutted path, tucks her feet
into them before clicking onto campus.
Two more daughters fetch water from the well below before school.
Then there was the daughter who lived only a few hours—
she had the most peaceful life of all.
Father’s thigh never healed from the shrapnel it ate when Kabul’s hills
were setting each other ablaze. He maneuvers over the steep dirt, crutches
swinging in rhythm, prays against muddy days though the city needs rain.
Mother’s face is a clock, moving task to task, pausing on occasion
to wonder who will knead bread, turn coals, mind the home
when her hands slow—
with no son, no son’s bride.
War, Literature & the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities
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