We Title a Google Doc Winter Getaway

Sheets. Towels. Wedge of goat milk soap. Orange blossom 

water and first aid kit. L’arabe du futur, 

which I read to you in stilted college French. 

Your accent is less American, you assess. More like my father’s. He fled 

to Syria during the War. Fell in love in France with a French girl.  

You were born in the Alps. I add to the list:  

Flour. The really big pot on the top shelf. 

You speak of aunts in Tartus, cousins down the coast. 

Countryside farmland. A grandmother in Homs.  

We read the headlines later. In Message to Iran, Biden Bombs Syria. 

Be Careful. While you shower, I draft 

the poem of a woman who worries over her beloved’s visa. 

You, chemist in a lab. You experiment with ketamine 

to treat veterans with PTSD, record results in confidential notebooks, 

report your progress at equal intervals to the bald, sun- 

burnt man at the Department of Defense.  

I draft the poem of a woman whose taxes bomb your father’s 

childhood refuge. If you cross the border, you might not 

cross it back. The embassy will or will not stamp your paperwork. 

I will always ripple down my length at the sight of you emerging 

from shower-stall steam, soft, naked but for a bath towel over the hips. 

When you explain yourself, I hear ketamine, horse tranquillizer, 

quench, and distill. In bed you once said, I don’t know 

who will benefit from my research in the end. I suggested the soldiers.  

You suggested the army recruiter, equipped with the new false 

promise of a smooth return to civilian life. 

It might have been otherwise, the poems of our lives.  

Yasmine Ameli is an Iranian American poet and essayist based outside Boston. She holds a BA in English from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Virginia Tech. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Sun, Southern Review, Narrative, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing through the Loft Literary Center and Grub Street and works independently as a writing life coach. You can find her on Instagram @yasmineameli.