Notes from a Ruined City
On the mud-spattered steps
of Kabul’s blue mosque, a pomegranate half
vibrates with worms.
God has no clock
but the muezzin’s song,
which veils the city’s vascular glass
and dilapidated buildings
each fifth hour—it must.
Evenings, I rinse from my face
the city’s grime, its fried oils.
My eyelashes sweep, then blacken, like battery grease,
the handkerchief of time
until I see new again. In the night markets, fruit
clings to soft rain, fish with eyes like milk warm
the ice. Each apple wears, for a moment, your face—
I lost you. I lose you again. By my want,
its incessantness, I’m mystified,
as by the city’s graffiti, this native grief
I cannot read. Before you left me, we held each other
in the American hotel overlooking
this landlocked relief, our bodies exuding summer,
a halo of insects lighting up the balcony—amid the ruins
of the neighboring roof, one could see
two children sleep, like children,
on the white wood of a dismantled door.