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Wednesday, February 05, 2014


by Rick Gray

Romeo and Juliet starts today.
We're going Shakespeare down here in Kabul,
and though our rowdy class isn't very spiritual (though it's full)
you're welcome to observe, dear Taliban sirs.

All I ask is you check your AKs
at the classroom door.
I can't guarantee your safety, you see.
These crazy women students might yank them away

and turn against you like an army of wild Juliets.
Sometimes I think their minds below their burqas have gone suicidally awry.
If you don't believe me, come down from the caves and see.
When they recite, watch the henna of their trigger fingers shiver with weird glee.

Or maybe that's just me. Or the poetry.

Rick Gray has work currently appearing in Salamander and has an essay forthcoming in the book, Neither Here Nor There: An Anthology of Reverse Culture Shock. He served in the Peace Corps in Kenya and teaches in Kabul, Afghanistan.