After I drove up north to tell his mother (wearing the red, spherical skirt the breeze’d caught), and before he left for India and I’d refused to ask any questions, we worked on a farm, and he would fall exhausted into our bed, his milky-breath mouth close to mine, pulsing hard as the leaves on the Catalpa tree darkened. And though that tree’s leaves are now bright only in my memory they’re still so beautiful there off the branches: he drags one across my face and I look up at him, all full of something like hope, or wonder.
The construction will let up just a few moments before dawn to let machines cool down and to allow their operators a chance to have breakfast and to pray, but my love will have left for the airport by that time on his third trip to Donetsk, favoring his hurt knee, carrying the lunch I packed for him.
Poor Ukraine, with its scores of people still dying every day: drop the ball bearings from the top of the revolving crane into the ceramic cistern for what I have forgotten, vacuum them up again for what I remembered to say.
Jamie Lynn Buehner lives on a small island outside Istanbul, where she teaches English at a private university.
"Catalpa" and "Work" are from the upcoming chapbook Catalpa (Red Bird Chapbooks, to be released late 2015.)