They do not know what it is like
To marry a man who goes away
And comes back completely different,
Or what it feels like to stand in a kitchen
With a man who is dissatisfied with it all,
With his life and with you, so frustrated
That this did not turn out like he wanted.
Because men on the ground of Afghanistan do a lot of wanting.
A deployment is twelve months of wanting something else,
Wanting something more, something more than this,
Sitting in a tent, laying in a cot, driving patrol,
Just thinking about their lives and what they want
When they come home. And when they come home,
And you are no longer what they want
You end up in a kitchen in a standoff.
And how hard it is to be forgotten,
And how hard it is that you cannot.
You cannot make him understand
That this is a kitchen and not a desert,
That the island between you is only Formica,
That you are his wife,
Not this enemy land he needs to scan for danger,
Regard with suspicion, or target your soft spots,
How you are his wife, imperfect but his.