War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele


Another installment of May Day, a fictional series of letters from a young woman to her lover serving as a Warrant Officer in Afghanistan. For a backgrounder on the project, click on the May Day icon at the right, or listen to the audio broadcast, writing May Day.


the Feria. big night. time for the chicas to put on their best flamenco dresses. C in red roses. roses the size of plates that wrap her beautiful curves. not too low. she saves her gorgeous breasts, the best, for the audience’s imagination.

and I’m wearing my black number you love. the one I wore the night you saw me first. low V. black soft poppies. poppies the colour of the sash you lay beside your DUs, folded, pencil pressed, over the arm chair in my bedroom that first night. next to your medals rowed. Bosnia. Afghanistan. ribbons and metal code for where you’ve been. what you did. for others.

you waited for me outside. after my show. the show you and your brothers snuck into late. after Christmas dinner in the mess. you were all too restless to go home. eight months back from the sand and dust and the shitshow, none of you were quite right though none of you told the others so. (God knows. your stares, your ironed faces gave you all away). you waited for me. and I whose golden rule is to never ever go with a stranger anywhere, did. maybe I thought I was safe with the uniform. ha, the oldest woman myth there is!

and everyone stared and smiled at us at the restaurant you took me to. the Keg. they all smiled at me as if I’d been the woman who’d waited, kept the home fires burning and all that. an old married couple pushed us to the front of the line when they saw us walk in, saw you in your DUs, me in my dress. thanked you for what you’d done. where you’d been.

then you were amazed when we sat down. I scarfed ceasar salad, a huge prime rib, half a loaf of bread, a lobster tail. inhaled it like an infantryman inhales his two allotted beers at smokers on Ex. you were surprised someone tiny could eat so big. I guess we make our footwork, our turns, our arms and fiori look effortless. but we sweat and sweat. inside and out. we sweat.

after I finished my meal you turned away from me on the cosy bench we shared so we could be by the fire. you grasped and fingered the fringe on your sash. picked the fringes up, held them softly in your hand, leaned towards me, palmed them so I could see. eight fringes each with a single tiny knot. “one knot for each of my dead men. David. Marc. Michael. John. Christopher. Sean. Eric. and Brown.” the waiter came. gave you the bill. you paid up.

I took you home. drew you a big foamy bath. took you to my bed. cradled your head. held it to my heart. something higher. sacred between us.

my flamenco shoes. my black dress. my own DU’s laid out to air on the dresser next to your DUs. my silver dangly earrings. with little amethysts. a gift from my guitarist. dead too young. the earrings I always wear for good luck and to keep him with me as I dance. lay on the table near where we slept.

and that was the beginning
for us.


About This Page

The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled DUs. It was posted here on November 26, 2010.


Complete diary archive