Distance

On my computer there are photographs

Of a refugee camp in Kabul,

A place where people go

When they flee war

And become internally displaced,

And I am looking at them,

The photographs,

The people, the camps, huts made out of mud,

How the tents are lined up in rows,

Or how there is a child,

Kneeling in the dirt with a caption

That reads picks up garbage,

And it looks like a shirt, I think,

What he is holding, a shirt

Dirty with mud and water or blood.

And darkness has already fallen here,

In America,

In my dark house,

As I walk down a hallway like a spine,

Rooms shooting off, the ribs of this

House and I am pulling down shades

Over windows, like skin, because

My husband says it is safer if people cannot see in.

Downstairs my computer is still on,

And the photographs are still there,

The child kneeling, still, with

His hands cupped around garbage.

And the city of Kabul is there behind

The camp, the tents, that child, and

I do not know how far

This camp is from the next one,

How far the people living there

Are from the places they used to call home,

How far the child is from gunfire or

The closest IED,

Or how far away the palace is,

The one called Darul Aman, how its name

Means abode of peace, but how

The fires and bombs and bullets

Of decades of war destroyed it,

And how it is now left in ruins,

Or how my husband walked

Through it, crumbling and empty,

How the walls had fallen down

Like bodies,

Cut in half or collapsed.

And I am climbing into bed,

Where my husband and I are

Lying, now, side by side, and

I am thinking about space,

The distance between two bodies,

Alive in a bed or dead in a road, or

The distance between this war

And the next one.

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