He sends me an email, with a photograph attached

To it, and it is him, my husband, standing in the sun,

Squinting and smiling, dressed in traditional clothes,

Clothes that the men from Afghanistan wear,

And he is wearing them, because they asked,

Because it is a respect thing, he says, over the phone,

Later, when I ask, ask him about it, this photograph,

Of him, wearing a large and hanging shirt, the color

Of burlap, and a hat, a pawkul, he tells me, perched,

There, on top of his head, like a nest, just like a nest,

I think, because he looks so comfortable and happy.

And I am sitting there, at a desk, looking at him, here,

On my computer, and I cannot help but feel that he is

Lost now, because it feels too easy, too easy how he

Can go and become this man, this man in a photograph,

That I don’t know anymore.  And I will remember it,

The photograph and how I felt, years later, after,

After he comes home, and after the letters come,

The ones from the men in Afghanistan, that say,

My brother and our teacher and that end, always

End with when and when will you come back, and

When they stop coming, the letters, and when

He stops knowing, knowing if they are even alive

Anymore, that’s when, when I will remember, because

My husband will know, that the man in the photograph,

That man he was, when he was over there, in Afghanistan,

How he is lost now.

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6 Responses to Nest

  1. morryp says:

    I find it very touching to read your poem. A perspective missing, in some ways, from my own experience as a soldier. Even when things were going badly. At least I knew. My family and girlfriend were in the dark.

  2. Wow. What a poem. That line about receiving letters asking when he’s coming back…

  3. theredanimalproject says:

    Amalie, reading the poem turns me slowly around. When is a person really lost … and to whom? Who is asking “when?” What is a nest? What is going on in Afghanistan, and in war, in general? Love how time works on your perspective.

  4. Even though I’m not the world’s biggest poetry person, these are great! Have you published them as a compilation anywhere?

  5. Your words are so powerful, your imagery so vivid. Well done.

  6. Argus says:

    Different times, different places, different faces, different people. You never get back the one you sent away to war.

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