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?

Laura Foley

Laura Foley is the author of eight poetry collections. Everything We Need: Poems from El Camino was released, in winter 2022. Why I Never Finished My Dissertation received a starred Kirkus Review, was among their top poetry books of 2019, and won an Eric Hoffer Award. Her collection It’s This is forthcoming from Fernwood Press. Her poems have won numerous awards, and national recognition—read frequently by Garrison Keillor on The Writers Almanac; appearing in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Laura lives with her wife, Clara Gimenez, among the hills of Vermont.

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