The more you shared memories that broke
off inside you, the longer I stayed every time you hit me.
At nineteen, I thought that was love.
Soldier-you smoked opium to forget boys,
whose high-pitched voices chimed about promises
of bikes, rice above rations, even a lamb.
Khomeini, short on tanks and men, ordered soldiers
to take boys, to teach them a new game called mine-sweeping.
Those who won “shaheed shod”, became martyrs.
Open-air trucks dropped boys off daily then near the front,
where your troop was ordered up dunes to man
anti-aircraft guns. Boys fingered plastic keys
painted gold, oohed at khaki jackets, new and stamped:
“Permission from Imam Khomeini to enter heaven.”
They didn’t even question the rope looped between their wrists.
Exile-you chain-smoked Marlboros, tried to forget them,
but the more you tried, the harder it was for your fists to open
and remember why you loved me.