In the kitchen, he cuts hearts from slices of bread,
puts them in Lily’s lunchbox.
“Mommy loves you,” he says.
At night, they huddle up to the laptop,
their video connection to Baghdad,
watching as the audio cuts mid-sentence:
“Mommy loves y-”
and the screen goes black.
Months later, they spot her in the terminal
in fatigues, shouldering her backpack.
She falls to her knees,
clamps her arms around Lily.
“Mommy loves you,” she sobs,
eyes squeezed between fierce tears.
*Note: This poem was written for Trifecta’s Week Thirty-Three Writing Challenge.
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