Salt crystal lamp from Afghanistan
pulsing on my desk in the predawn dark.
Village fires in the Hindu Kush mountains,
soft pops of shouldered missile launchers.
Salt is old, what the depths give
of purity, not yet enough. The Buddhas
high as cathedrals, blasted from their stone
alcoves. Bruises hidden under burkas.
The gunmetal gleam of American guilt.
My father took me at ten to the east Texas
salt mine. Cool cloak of fear as we dropped
down and down through timber scaffolding
to dim halls and hollowed rooms
damp with the smell of ocean. I trusted him
and we rose back to blue and gold July.
In the dusty gift shop, the Morton Salt girl
with her umbrella, ever blithe, her many images
shifting like flutter frames. My father
is gone. With each blast
the planet slips on its soap-bubble plane.
This is how we live now, cupping small light,
the hard rain falling.