When you call me from Afghanistan,
I imagine our words are like snakes, moving through grass, and
On water, crossing over oceans and countries and time changes
Slithering back and forth in between us, and then coiling
Into the sentences of a conversation that could be our last.
And I am standing here, now, in our kitchen, listening
To you tell me how I am a lucky wife,
Because you are allowed to call me,
And I am able to hear your voice,
And know, know you are still alive.
But the other part is this,
How there are days when you don’t call,
How there once was a whole week,
Seven days of silence, when you didn’t call.
And how when that happens, I have to just
Go about my day, like it is normal,
Folding some old shirts of yours
I found in a gym bag in the closet,
And placing them in your drawer,
As if I know that, at the end of this,
You are going to come home.
But the only thing I really know is this,
What the silence means,
How when a soldier is killed,
They shut down all communication,
So that the news will not leak out,
And snake its way back to America,
Before, before the family is officially notified.
And I am thinking about next time, next time
The silence comes, and how I will not know
Whether it is my husband,
If it is my husband who is dead.