Ten years, my husband is saying,

As we put our sons to bed, turn

On the dishwasher, turn it off,

The ceiling light in the kitchen,

Above our heads, and we are

Turning towards one another,

Or turning around corners,

Down this hallway, into our bedroom,

And closing the door, or how we are

Trying to leave it behind us,

A decade of marriage,

A decade of dead babies and dead

Bodies and a war,

Or how there are too many,

Too many anniversaries now,

The day he left,

The day he came back,

The day I realized he was still gone,

Or the day the doctor stood there,

In front of me, a probe in his hand,

The probe on my stomach, moving

In circles, a transmitter, how he was

Saying nothing, nothing except everything,

How everything is wrong.

And I just want to hold him,

Hold my husband,

Alive and in this darkness,

My hands holding his head,

With my fingers splayed over

His head and hair like a helmet.

And I am holding him,

Holding Afghanistan,

What happened there or what

What is still happening, I whisper,

Holding it like a heart or like a brain,

Soft, and in my hands.

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1 Response to Helmet

  1. Hal Donahue says:

    Everyone is a casualty in war

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