War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

tuut (from May Day)

another installment of May Day, a fictional series of letters from a young woman to her lover serving in Afghanistan. for background information on May Day and its characters, click on the May Day icon on the right hand side of the page


beads, little glassy pods strung, strung prayer beads, hung beside my bed fingered by your chaffed soldier hands last time you were here.

“see this,” you said when you gave them to me after your first tour.
“mulberries” “all the stages of ripeness—white, pink, red—white is best, the
others aren’t ready to eat yet”.

red, pink, white, green glass seeds beaded, woven, strung. sewn by a woman prisoner—what’s her name I’d like to know—she made them to be sold at KAF, at that store on the boardwalk that buys dresses, beads, hats, anything made for
for extra cash, extra food, by women languishing in jail. and this faceless woman’s long shiny rope of mulberries terminates in a woven green bead tree. this prayer chain, this taspeh drew me, when you brought it home. showed it to me.

“we used to eat mulberries in spring. grab handfuls while we patrolled near rivers
streams, fields, near villages where they’d grow. we’d reach up, pull down branches, slam down a fist of berries. they’d break the monotony of stale, hot camelbak water. another day, another patrol. their juice would stream down our sun-cracked faces. sting our lips sweetly as they dripped.”

sometimes at checkpoints little kids with baskets filled with berries would hand us
a handful. sometimes we’d slip toffee, Jolly Ranchers, gum, into their baskets ‘choclit for spin tuut’ we’d say. then they’d run home.”

you held the woven glass between your fingertips. said it was a tree of life. the tree of history. I asked you whose history. you shook your head. then took me to bed though it was only afternoon. but you had only another’s day leave and then you’d have to go again. before we’d say goodbye again.

(and loving a soldier. is always goodbyes).

that time you left, you left a bracelet on my dresser. a little note: wear this. it
means a lot to me. and on the metal bracelet engraved in silver lettering, the names of your dead men. and I wasn’t sure I’d want to wear death around my wrist. but a day later I did. because it belonged to you. because it reminded me to live.

and you M, my tuut. sweet. delicious. when you’re here. I keep you close. always. I keep your bracelet. your prayer beads. the memory of your tattoo’ed arms, Airborne, Patricia crown. holding me tight. so tight. the taste of mulberry on your lips. so near.


About This Page

The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled tuut (from May Day). It was posted here on January 15, 2011.


Complete diary archive