Carpet Shop

For Khorshid, whose name means Sun

It’s always the sandals that are left on the scene,
thrown from a suddenly-airborne body,
spit like a watermelon seed.
Hers were fuscia, with flowers,
and landed near her chalk drawings:
purple Cupid-pierced hearts
smeared now.

It was Saturday, sunny,
when she was blown up
in front of the carpet shop
on Great Massoud Road.
She and three kids who spent afternoons
working new moves at Skateistan,
or hawking trinkets and practicing English
with soldiers walking between camps.
She and her eight-year-old sister.
She and the carpet shop owner,
blown into shards of flesh
by a fourteen-year-old in a vest.

I didn’t hear the blast.
I was 7,846 miles away,
brushing my teeth before bed
maybe, or blowing out a candle.
Someone later sent me pictures
of the scene of the attack,
knowing I’d lived in that camp
by the carpet shop,
not knowing I’d lost her in those pictures.
And yet she was never mine except
for the way she would run to me, except
for our snapshot, her pink jacket tucked in close
smiling from my Facebook page.

First published by Fourteen Hills, The San Francisco State University Review