Beaded Blue

Feet still wet from the freeze
of a Band-e Amir pool,
strung one to the next
like stone beads
with waterfall thread,
we pile into the hatchback,
bumping back to the highway
to the rhythm of Hindi tunes.

The hills of the Hazara heartland have names
like Gholghola – the city of screams from Mongol times –
and towns named Shahidaan for the martyrs crumpled
by Soviet planes

but these hills     with spacious hearts
these homes           healed by hand
                  keep calm
like warm naan wrapped in cloth
like the cliffs that lean to kiss
the lake’s lapis cheek,
lined with turquoise necklace.

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

First published in Antiphon, Issue 13, Autumn 2014