One summer, after a hard rain, the path
was filled with mud and the bodies 
of hundreds of frogs. I waited to see
if a row of them would suddenly get up 
in an orchestrated dance. Once I saw 
a YouTube of firecrackers carpeting 
at least a mile of a village road. From afar,
they looked like mounds of old-time
movie tickets. Someone lit one end; 
a smoke curtain advanced, its red
hem an anger sputtering. From cities
in the north and south, my daughter
sends photos of pre-election rallies.
Millions in the streets clad in pink,
for the woman they're fighting for
to become president. Her opponent
combs and pomades his hair so he
can look like the ghost of his dead
father— Spitting image: hollow
like the concrete monument in Tuba,
its left ear bombed by rebels. A guy
I knew in college wrote about it
for a newspaper. It's been almost 
two decades since his abduction
and disappearance. My mother told me
she'd also gone to school with his father.
I held that thought in my head awhile.
There's an old picture I have, where 
my mother is bending over to give me 
a little push from behind as I work 
the pedals of a kiddy tricycle.
The camera catches her exactly
as she looks up and smiles. Here,
she has not lost her teeth and she 
still has a perfect head of hair. 
I squint— but I am always squinting 
into the light. I wonder, has it always 
been so bright like this that I mistake 
the future for the past, tears shed along
with laughter from those made in grief.  

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