Letter to Afghanistan

Because the pitch pines have been frozen
all season, they clatter in the dunes,
snap down to the blood sap,
slender and rigid as boys at attention.
In the frigid sand, to move is to break.
Each overlapping wave a shard,
here, tectonic plates of ice crowd the shore.

Yours is a burning earth.
Wind-ground sand, fine as talc,
claims the air, no tolerance
for emptiness. The space in your sleep
where we belong, where our daughter belongs,
is sealed up tight and safe—
too safe to be of any comfort.
We are none of us free from harm.

Sand and ice take the shape
that contains them. Adrift,
they render their own uncraftable damages,
and scalded, pool into glass.

Just for today, dear, be selfish.
Forget the ancient, crystalline complexities
that sear their patterns into the earth.
Sleep, and be my husband. Our house
is an hourglass; its fleet white grains
prove we are all still living.

-Kate Kearns

Kate Kearns is a poet and freelance manuscript editor based in Maine. Her poetry chapbook How to Love an Introvert (2014) is available through Finishing Line Press, and samples appear on her website  http://blacksquirrelworkshop.com/publications. Her prose has appeared in an anthology by the HerStories Project and on MashStories.com.