that Polaroid of me
squatting, feet and hands in wet dirt, 4 years old
learning to plant tomatoes with Grandpa
wispy blonde strands tucked neatly behind each ear
no one told me
when I grew up I would go to war
and see a blue-eyed Kurdish girl 4 years old
my sky blue eyes looking back at her
standing in sun-burned sand, barefoot
putting hand to mouth, crying to me for food
The truth is, I’ve never had one. I tried to find myself in my father’s carpentry boots. I would lace them up and clomp through the living room to look for approval in his sun-weathered eyes. I looked for my future in my high school boyfriend’s plaid sheets, beer-slurred midnight talks about red rocks and Arizona sunset, far enough away for us to run away from our broken childhoods. I came of age in the U.S. Army. I was blue-eyed, blonde-haired, naïve and fearless, with a black rifle trigger finger, curse words dripping from my mouth. I yearned for life to continue after near-death deployment to Iraq, after seeing humanity twist onto itself while looting Babylon’s children. I left a piece of myself in that sand. I married in hopes that it would heal the way my government betrayed all of us. I divorced from sick, prescription-addicted rage, the girl who no longer recognized herself in mirrors. PTSD fires all over the apartment. Screams to my dad that I needed rehab.
When I no longer have bookends separating “life before war” and “life after war-” then I will find home.