Afghan Den by Michael McSweeney

“Afghan Den”

Crumpled sheets of foil rot in the sunlight,

tucked in concrete corners of an old culture center

by hands and eyes that shield. The camera

flash illuminates the clouded minds, groups

of squatting, dirt-filled men who cough and mutter.

They see things I don’t, but have before:

the indescribable illusion, comfort

like the blanket someone puts over you

while you sleep, and when you wake

it’s something you can only hope for

again. The men smoke opium and stare at me

through the laptop scorching my legs.

I’m sitting in class and the professor tells us

that the closest route between two points

is a straight line, but I already know this;

as a young man oceans behind in life

I can’t do anything about the world

that lives behind a fate-thumbed screen.

 

Towards the Light Courtesy of Julianna Murphy
Towards The Light Courtesy of Julianna Murphy © 2011

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