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Friday, January 03, 2014


by Rick Gray

Hello Kitty, he said again
emptying another mini bottle of vodka

into a brittle plastic cup of Red Bull.
Want one, sir? he asked. It gives you wings.

Hello Kitty, he went on,
Dubai getting closer, I don't know why

it was always Hello Kitty.
I don't know what you mean, I finally said.

He turned to me, his nose veined red
Flying home to Montana with toys

for all the kids on Christmas.
Those watches, his words began to slur,

the ones they set as timers
to detonate what killed my friends

they were always Hello Kitty,

Rick Gray teaches in Kabul. He has work forthcoming in Salamander and the book, Neither Here Nor There: An Anthology of Reverse Culture Shock.