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Ghulamai tells a story

We all know
the metal gate
that separates our yard from the street
is a thin skin.
At any time
violence could extend its claws
and draw blood.

This morning,
I loaded a rusty wheelbarrow with bulging trash bags,
and leaning into it
rolled it across the yard,
through the gate
and onto a pocked, unpaved street,
heading for the neighborhood dumpster.
The sun shone on another dusty day in Kabul.
Nothing could have been more ordinary
or more forgettable
until four young Pashto boys on bicycles approached.

“Can we go through your garbage here,”
they asked me,
“before you dump it?”
Bent to their work,
they pulled out scraps of stale flatbread, crumpled pieces of paper for fuel.
One of them pointed to a nearby residence
where a member of Parliament lives.
“Look at how the people in that castle live,” he said,
“and how we live.”
The boys finished their sorting
and thanked me.
As they walked away,
I saw that a thin metal gate stands between us
and they are already bleeding.