Jan Harris

your photograph in the newspaper

the burka frames your eyes
owl eyes in saffron dusk
amber where ashes reside

I lift you from the page
feel your small warm weight on my hand

fly little bird
fly on silent wings
there are men in the forest
and earth is hard as stone

In Afghanistan

He crouches against the grey wall,
leans back against his pack.

His hands, hidden in thick gloves,
point the rifle down, between splayed knees
to the safety of wet earth.

A black balaclava covers his head,
renders him anonymous -
nothing but a burka would hide more.

Snow settles on the dark wool of his coat,
on the laces of his boots,
on his lashes.

Only his eyes are visible;
revealing the man.
Everything else is soldier.

Jan Harris © 2010