When they ask me if,

If my husband can go

Back to war,

I say yes,

Because he is in the military

And he can always go back,

Back to war,

And I use words like lottery

And involuntary recall and

How we do not want it, how

We do not want it to happen.

But the truth is

My husband is planning a trip


Back to Afghanistan,

Just a week, he says,

Or maybe two,

How it is part of a project

He is working on, and how

No one is making him go.

And when he tells me this,

He is in the kitchen,

His voice stretching

Around walls, because I am

Standing at the end of this,

Our hallway,

The head of it,

Like the mouth

Of a river

That stretches,

Stretches down the length

Of our house and us, how

We are quiet now,

How he is


For me to say something and

How there is nothing, nothing

To say.

But later I do say it,

Because it is on the news and

Because I cannot help myself,

And I wake him up,

Shaking his shoulder,

And I tell him about

The men who were beheaded,

About the two journalists

From America

And a British aid worker,

How it happened in Syria,

Or what happened

In Afghanistan, how

A soldier was killed there,

When terrorists tried,

Tried to behead him,

Stabbing him to death instead,

And how it happened

On Airport Road in Kabul,

And I keep repeating the words

Airport and road, because it is

The same, the same road

My husband used to drive down,

Back then,

When he was at war

And lucky I say,

How he was so lucky

He did not get killed

That time,

And he is getting up now,

Throwing off the sheets

Of this bed and my words,

But I am following him and

Talking about them,

The men killed in Syria,

How they were captured,

Held, like that, as prisoners,



Beheaded, I am saying,


Beheaded by the ISIS

With a knife

As long as a tibia bone

And it was two years I say,

How they held one of them

For two years,

Before killing him, and

I know what scares my husband,

How more than dying,

He is scared of being a prisoner

Of war,

Not dead,

But not allowed to live,

Or how, worse,

Worse, I say,

How the terrorists

Make videos of it,

And how the videos are posted

Online, and their families, I say,

How the pain of the families

Is something

I cannot imagine,

But I try to,

Try to imagine what

It would feel like if it was him,

My husband,

Captured by terrorists,

Beheaded, and gone,

Or if the last image of him was

A photo still right before

They cut off his head,

And I am whispering,


Whispering the words

Our children,

Even though they are asleep,

Our children,

Or how there will be more,

How they are not done, and

My husband,

He is turning around now,

Turning towards me and saying

No, saying stop,

Because it is too much,

How it is all too much.

Tomorrow he will go

Play golf,

His clubs in a bag

Swung over his shoulder

Like a machine gun,

And the course will spread

Out, in front of him,

Green and smooth,

This artificial skin.

And, yes, there are hazards,

Sand traps that are cut out

Of the land,

That dip and pucker like a scar.

But there are no bombs,

No IEDs, hidden in holes,

No explosions or dead

Bodies to carry or move,

And my husband,

He will play golf

And then

He will come home.

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2 Responses to Golf

  1. andria816 says:

    How beautiful. This built to an almost unbearable tension until you hit, “Tomorrow he will play golf,” and I let out such a sigh of relief that my kids looked up.

  2. Don Wright says:

    Amalie: Great writing. Love your style. Very powerful message and emotion. I really like the golf references: sand traps, hazards, golf clubs slung over the shoulder (rather than a gun). Your writing paints very vivid images. Thanks for sharing.

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