Afghanistan

By John Davis 

It was several years before I told you how close I came to death.

It had been months.
I was trying to sew memories
of home into my back pocket.
I looked for moments to
rip them out and make them move like something alive.

After the explosion, I remember
lying disoriented in an overgrown field of poppies
feeling rushed into my own loneliness.

There is still a strangeness to that field.
The hectares of lush lavender and fuschia
flowing and breaking, then coming together.
It might as well have been the ebbing of shore-bound
breakers at the Cape, or Newport, or some dreamscape.

Then suddenly, I remembered all
the events I forgot to live:

the time I learned the guitar…

the day I painted a self-portrait…

the moment I loved a beautiful woman…

I remember lying on my back
watching the sky open up just before dusk.
The clouds overhead.
Then the sunlight that passed through them.

 

John Davis graduated from Yale University in 2008 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps that same year. He saw action in Afghanistan as an infantry officer and executive officer serving in a combined action Advisor Team to the Afghan National Army. His awards include the Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon. He is an avid writer of poetry and prose. He currently splits his time between Virginia and Massachusetts.

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