Love Songs for Kandahar

by Gita M. Smith

I. That woman who followed me home spoke nothing but lies. But you worried for days with a stubborn jealousy, refusing to touch me.

Late last night you went into the street and came home smelling feral. You turned your back to me and twitched with restless dreams.

In the moonlight, your shoulder blades shone like vestigial hinges for wings.

I looped my arm around you, and only when I found a breast could I finally sleep.

II. This life is difficult. We hide from phantoms, phones go unanswered, you threaten to shave your head and wear men's clothing. You worry that the mullahs suspect us, but that cannot be. We never touch in public. You weep and I shake when a neighbor knocks on the door, fearing the Mujahideen.

Here, where no light penetrates ten thousand shades of hatred, how will we find our way?


III. What tiny dances your hand makes on my skin.

My heart climbs the trellis of my ribs when your mouth moves over mine.

In this moment when nothing else matters, where nothing else gets in, I fear we might carve into each other.

My blood courses in a thicket of channels that empty into yours and back again to mine.

I sink into you, entering your bones. Such is my hunger that I suck your marrow.