OrdersPosted: June 8, 2013
My fingers travel the knoll of his shoulder,
mind flashing to the day his orders arrived,
before the cold and early snow drifts on the garden.
Nine months “boots on hostile ground” the official
words read in translation, but in this moment
his callused foot, bare and chill, strokes my calf.
We have already covered each other’s backs,
dry from indoor heat, with creamed coconut oil—
white and warmed between our palms –
so as not to assault our tender flesh. It will be my job
to rake snow from the roof, blow it from our drive,
look after family members and matters
while rough desert sands find their way
into his socks, his eyes and nose and mouth,
his ears and hair, and his boots make prints
barren land will forget in less time than we have
to memorize our familiar geographies
before he must answer this call to duty.
Caroline LeBlanc, MAMF Writer in Residence