War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

after every darkness

بعد از هر تاریکی روشنایی است

(“Ba’d az har tariki, roshanai ast.”
After every darkness is light.)

Afghan proverb

he emails me. I see a photo of the flowering. poppies waist high. pink/white. Afghan spring. John shouldering his pack. weapon strapped. John wired. netted. for anything. a village stroll. 50 celcius in the sun. 37 in the shade. 2nd tour.

last time I saw John he buckled me into the Herc. sat next to me. chatted about home. chatted about books. chatted about HLTA. chatted about D. whom I couldn’t get to see. so close. a kilometer away. outside outside. the wire. I travelled 12,000 kms hoping to see D, who was the start of all of this. but couldn’t go because the roads were not good for a poet.

and on the Herc John chatted with me like we were sitting at the Roxy watching a double feature and it was intermission. not a war zone. I half-expected John to pull out the popcorn, the jujubes on the plane out of KAF.

now I can’t help but wonder. how is it that of thousands I meet, travel with to war and back, that it happened to be one I know, John from home, who found his way to my side when I most needed it. as I left the country way too soon. headed back to my own winter. my own table setting of sorrow. my emptiness.

and always, along the way little lights. that night, tiny villages wavy, glowed almost undersea in their blue desert far below as I looked out the cargo deck window at dusk. they were phosphorescent, algaeic beneath me. the cargo load specialist chewed gum, winked. the ex-parachutist who broke his back and now sentries the Herc invited me into the cockpit. the Herc droned into night.

we landed to wafts of ocean salt, bouganvilla, diesel after the back ramp was let down. I grabbed my gear, waved goodbye to John. haven’t heard a peep from him. until an email. this morning at dawn.


About This Page

The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled after every darkness. It was posted here on April 18, 2010.

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