Market Day in Emam Sahib

dusty brown bare feet puff
the tan dust as they shuffle
on, pushing
flat wood carts that carry
vegetables, sticks, cloth

carry the earth itself
from place to place
mud hut to mud hut
old lined face to old lined face

and here time falls
soft as volcanic ash
upon a people tending
and feeding gently
their lambs β€” sorrow and lack

war at their front, war at their back


Kevin Perrin

Author: Kevin Perrin

Maj. Kevin Perrin served in Afghanistan with the United States Army as a Team Chief for the district of Emam Sahib, and then acting J3 officer (joint operations) for the Afghan Regional Security Integration Command, North.

1 thought on “Market Day in Emam Sahib”

  1. [Editor’s note] One winning aspect of this poem is the moment in which the observing poet makes his sudden leap from the literal — lambs — to what those old Afghans are feeding and tending metaphorically, sorrow and deprivation. The poet’s apparent initial sense that the labored daily work is endlessly repetitive and unlikely to lead to better lives, merely moving carts back and forth from place to place, is a second preparation for a sudden and more disquieting understanding.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.