by Katie Turner

I stayed home

while you dodged bullets

I studied Shakespeare

while you puzzled out signs in Arabic

I wrote poems to read in bars

when I should have written you



you won’t say but

I can see

your time there haunts you


we walk the streets

you scan the rooftops

wary of snipers in our sleepy mountain town…


you try

to return to yourself


to go back to school

go back to work

try to pry

the sand out of your bones

with toothpicks made in China.

the sticky grains

don’t     budge


and I try

to understand how

your skin came back without you in it

and I wonder

what it’s like now—

to leave a land but always

be dreaming in it


we sit next to each other

you stare ahead while I grieve

you were a poet once

and could sing

now your memories march

to form a line between us

as wide as the desert

dry as the desert


as the desert


Katie Turner is a theatre artist and scholar with a life-long love of writing. Her poetry has been published in the 2018 San Diego Poetry Annual and the 2018 Beatitude Beat Poet Anthology. Katie currently produces theatrical work with Oracle Performing Arts and is a lecturer in Theatre History at San Diego State University.