A letter to a young Talib mujaheddin before the beginning
of the Afghan war.


May a fly sit on your beard...

You will chase it away

it will come back
you will swing at it
You sit among the rocks
rifle in your hand
you think about nothing
but how to shoot well
when THEY appear on the hill
The fly rests on your nose
you swat at it
You're thinking about
your sister
how she fell in the river
how your were trying
to save her
how the water tasted
how your head
hit a rock
how you grabbed her
how she looked at you
eyes wide open
how your feet slipped
how the current
tossed you
how her hand
let go
how she disappeared
in the water
how you groped
in the torrent
how you caught her arm
you felt so strong
back on the shore
she gagged vomited
and smiled
you looked at her
her arms her legs
she could have been gone

the fly rests on your nose
you chase it away again

it's hard to kill a fly
not think about anything
but shooting well

where did that damn fly
come from
Poetry