Thursday Poem


She is standing, here, in a grocery store,
Under the fluorescent light suspended,
Above her head, and from the ceiling,
Standing in front of the refrigerated meat,
That is laid out in front of her, butchered,
A thigh, a breast, a leg,
Or chopped and ground,
Pieces of meat wrapped tightly in plastic that is
Stretching over them, like skin, and she forgets,
Forgets what she is looking for, because she is,
Remembering what he said on the telephone,
His voice in Afghanistan and, here, in her ear,
About what happened, there, in Kandahar, or
How an American soldier, how he lost his mind,
Went and killed sixteen Afghans, nine children,
A massacre, her husband whispers over it, this
Telephone line, and she is here, now, in America,
Moving down aisles of a grocery store, moving
Through the months, because she is still waiting,
Waiting for him to come home again, waiting
In a checkout line, and thinking about lines,
Lines she draws through the days on a calendar,
Bodies shot dead, lined up on the side of a road,
Or the lines of war,
Lines soldiers cross and lines they don’t,
And the imaginary lines that divide countries,
Our country from theirs,
Or how different he will be,
Her husband,
When he crosses over again, and comes home.

by Amalie Flynn