Last Minutes in Afghanistan

A quadrille is a poem consisting of exactly 44 words. Please bear with me over the introduction

A.H. Starlingsson
Beautiful Haībun
2 min readNov 29, 2021


Her fist came through the crowd.
"Take it, please!" she screamed, her voice briefly clear, isolated from the shouting, pleading, and the roar of the turboprops of our large Hercules military transport plane; a sudden wind lashing at her headscarf.
I looked down at her opening hand, folded note between long fingers, long clean fingers despite a face marked with shadows.
"Please!" — green eyes shining, imploring: "I want the world to know I existed!" she cried out hoarsely, her hand in mine, before she was swept away in the crowd.

Three months later. I still have not been able to open the piece of paper.

today, under the gentle snowfall a picture in my mind
of her blowing her stark, cold bare fingers
somewhere on the streets of Kabul
her note lies still unopened, on the table
I will come back, I whisper, under my false crown
I will

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A.H. Starlingsson
Beautiful Haībun

—dispatches from Ukraine🌲currently writing "Distant Taps The Woodpecker,* Mastodon contact: starlingsson@gmail.com_