War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

farewells

you called, a rainy Sunday night. your voice jagged. half an octave lower. the rye in your guts burning. the loop of sleeplessness playing. it was all too much. goodbyes. balloons. laughter. signatures on cards. the baby in someone’s arms. the baby within your sister’s belly waiting to be born after you deploy. all that solid normalcy of seasons, lives, surrounding you. and your life so liquid. and you questioning where your years had gone and why.

I talked you down. off the wire of despair. for two hours. then I made you eat. checked up on you again. was that the last time. I heard your voice? hard to remember. though it’s only a few weeks since your Herc landed in KAF.

yesterday, cakes and flowers. Afghan food. lamb, quabuli, a soft scarf crocheted in desert camo. little gloves. little booties. notebooks. pencils. soap. gifts from family/friends for me and for Afghans. oh ya, and Tim Horton’s $5 coffee cards from Ang. “give ‘em to your drivers” she says.

and the flamencas showed up. we danced tangos. my little old mother loved it.

when our hearts break we dance/sms’ solo tangos

then I read for them all:
Last Letter Before I Leave #1

after my mother left, but long before the last guest left, I lay down in the dark of my bed room, pulled a pillow over my head. toyed with the idea of phoning your number just to hear your voice on the answering machine. just closed my eyes instead.

later, after the front door clicked for the last time. I was cleaning up. found Russ’ apple pie in my freezer. he slipped it in quietly, told me it was mine alone. his pies famous for miles and miles. I heated the oven, baked the pie. ate a huge slice of it hot, steaming, with ice cream. the phone rang. someone checking in on me. talking me down. off the wire of despair. for an hour.

then I went to bed. the loop of sleeplessness playing over and over again. in my head.


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled farewells. It was posted here on November 02, 2009.

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