|November 16th, 2008|
…The highway between Kabul and Kandahar was supposed to be a success story. Completed in 2003, it has instead become a symbol of all that plagues Afghanistan: insecurity, corruption and the radical Islamic insurgency that feeds off both.
“This is my road,” Saboor says: a dust
Track gone the long way through the desert rocks.
He drives the bus, two times a week, trusting
Life and face to dirt he smears across
His lips, a beard to baffle Taliban.
He wears mechanic’s clothes: a claim the road
Then makes on him, a thieving in the sand,
The way last week the robbers burst and stole
The crates with chickens, goats a-leash, the wealth
That masquerades as dirt itself, the greens.
I ask him, does he fear insurgent’s stealth,
The bark of guns, the bullet’s code, the dream,
When east Sarobi’s tea shops dish fruit cold and sweet,
Pomegranates, porcelain plates, nuts and honey treats,
The scent of lamb in stew, the simmering of the meat –
He shrugs. Stolid, fleet. He says, “This is my road.”
It is a dust track where the accent makes the meaning.