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Our March 2020 Poem of the Month comes from John McAuliffe’s forthcoming collection, The Kabul Olympics, which will be published on 2nd April 2020.

Cold War

A day of days: I roll myself into the sandy dune,
hiding from where the others have gone,
on my own, with paper and pencil,
a towel and book and water bottle.
This is perfect. I hear every whisper,
I know what the reeds report and see the tickle
and hiss of the sandflies. I spear
my thigh with a snapped-off bulrush, and peer
at where the skin raises a bubble. I turn over
and on the flat of my back inspect
the sky for Russian planes. What did it mean,
when we left the mobile home, for my mother to say
something I couldn’t hear. The way
to the beach forever-slow and silent.
The sand extends its hot dry atmosphere.
What I am sketching is half alien, half insect.
I could run off. I’d heard something sinking in. Listen,
no one is coming to check where I’ve been.

                                              by John McAuliffe
                     from The Kabul Olympics (2020)
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