Watching the News From Afghanistan

Did I once travel in a rickety van to the north,
with my husband, two little children,

to the snowy peaks where Alexander crossed,
those high, far-off plains of Tibet?

Did it grow cold, did the electricity go out,
snow falling on the budding almond trees?

Did my mother arrive by bus,
the night of the eclipse?

Did we hear men testing weapons in the market,
blasting Russian Kalashnikovs, American guns into the air?

Did I walk through crowds, head and shoulders covered
with an acquiescent scarf?

Did we sit at cafés on unpaved streets,
sip sweet mint tea, among hungry, roving dogs?

Did my son trace circles in the dust,
as I nursed the baby, in the shadows of the Hindu Kush?

Do I hold my son’s son
even closer, today,

as I watch Afghan children seeking refuge
from mountains of guns,

dangling from landing gear,
falling from an escaping plane?

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