Balcony in Kabul

When I look out the window
I see the narrow road,
lonelier than ever. I have
no friends. The old woman
next door does not speak
my language. Sometimes
she knocks on my door to ask
if I have some salt.
But not today.

From my balcony,
I can’t see the shadow
of my other neighbor,
behind her kitchen curtains
across the street.
And even Tommy, the little cat
hides herself from the cold
in the pile of clothes,
so I don’t hear her
saying, mew, mew.

I light my cigarette and think deeply
about the loneliness of our road,
how empty of friendship this world is.
I feel that I am the only lonely woman,
as I listen to my breaths,
walk up and down.
The doors of hope seem closed—
not only from the front
but also from the back.

By N.