Poems

My Soldier Husband

I
Since you left, I’ve been drinking coffee from your cup.
I am frightened by distance, its arrogant perspective.
I stack foamy dishes by the sink and
leave them. I couldn’t-care-less since you left .
Since you left, I have been driving your car
and like you, I beep the horn enthusiastically.
I’ve developed obsessions: hand-shaking, insomnia,
an aversion to sentiment. Since you left,
I sleep on your side of the bed, shorten
the miles between us with thoughts.
Since you left, I’m plagued by the quiet fear
of someone sneaking in and hiding downstairs.
I’m not exaggerating – I sometimes think
I’m destroyed beyond recognition. I wilt,
I am a drooping eyelid.
Since you left, the weather is mercurial
and gales blow through our house.
Soon my eyes will melt into tears
I can’t hide. Since you left,
I carry your penknife in my pocket
and the swallows are late returning.
I’m always improbably ill
and your sunglasses don’t suit me.
Since you left, I am two people
and the sum of the world’s simplicities.
Forgive me – I can’t look back,
I can only wait for you, you
drenched in the smell of massacre,
silent servant of your life and death.
The newspaper you left rests on the table.
I know you dream of our room
under the modest light of the moon.
The water drips from my hair. I wear
your dressing gown. Since you left
the universe has shifted. I’m surrounded
by idiots. I’m more in love with you
than ever.
 
II
I can see
angels are falling from heaven.
Careful!
death tends to follow them.
You and I will survive.
The earth is so cold
I cannot give you over to it.
 
No,
don’t stop silently
by the corpses.
Be careful!
Death may seduce you,
I will be invited into your dreams,
a whisper of forgotten spring.
I can see the abandoned houses burning,
I can see the weeping mothers of lost children.
Each morning I wait for you,
in hope and youth
and every lonely night makes me older.
 
I can see,
the boys in overcoats are dying,
the river is flooding the minefield,
somebody is falling,
somebody is running, shot.
Don’t look back!
Don’t stop!
Keep walking!
 
III
God, forgive my weakness.
I am a woman,
make my pain abstract.
God, fill the hungry chasm
and forgive me my desire.
God, fill my empty bed
with the one I will never be bored with.
Gossips watch me.
The sun can only marry us in dreams.
 
IV
Come in,
give the night your greatcoat
and tiptoe to the bed you yearned for,
I’m all cried out
and I offer my shaking hand
so you don’t fall down.
 
Come in. My lips are still burning
and I haven’t slept.
When you’ve survived bullets and ghosts.
the smell of cotton sheets is all the sweeter.
 
Come in. Shut out dark memories.
I will decorate you with charms.
Don’t think about the brothers
you buried yesterday with your own hands.
Don’t think about those you couldn’t save,
who only God and weather remember.
Trust me, I can make you love life again.
 
Come. I will lick your wounds like a dog,
and I will fight the storms behind your eyes,
and if I can bring your smile back
a single day will be worth a thousand.
 
Come in. The cursed war
cannot reach our house,
not torture,
nor hunger,
shooting,
fights.
Let the void take my body
if you are not next to me.
Let the earth become my husband.
My arms are a trench for you,
day after day
night after night.
Stop for a second.
If pain has tired you
give yourself over to me.
 
Come in.
Your greatcoat is smeared with blood,
I love it like I love the smell of your rough skin.
Sleep calmly, I will guard you all night,
I will fold your sleeping sighs into handkerchiefs
and keep them hidden in my pockets.
 
Come in.
The fire turned to ashes long ago
and my head long-since hit the pillow.
Everyone else has gone now
but you’ve returned and you look at me quietly.
Come in.

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