Sleep has always come to me tentatively.
She slides over the boulders of horrors
in my traumatized girl-adolescent-woman mind
or slips between them like water.
She tries to smooth over the night terrors by holding me
fast in her soft, tentacular embrace.
And sometimes she succeeds.
Brainstorms For Andrew
I wish I could tell you of the storm that brews in me.
Of the waves that pummel and bruise me.
How I wish I could sink below the surface and escape with you.
I wish I could assure you, “you will be okay. We will be okay.”
But I suspect it is an untruth buoyantly bobbing beneath the waters of desperation.
What they did to us changed the chemicals in our brains, altered the antibodies coursing through our veins.
Our bodies bear the scars of their sins and crimes.
Our loved ones look at us with shame,
unwilling to comfort us or show us their faces.
They break under this sagging weight of our truths, cradling the obscene truth of their willful unseeing.
C. Christine Fair is a professor in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program within the School of Foreign Service. Her books include In Their Own Words: Understanding the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (OUP 2019); Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War (OUP, 2014); and Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States (Globe Pequot, 2008). She has published creative pieces in The Bark, The Dime Show Review, Furious Gazelle, Hyptertext, Lunch Ticket, Clementine Unbound, Awakenings, Fifty Word Stories, The Drabble, Sandy River Review, Sonder Midwest, Black Horse Magazine, Barzakh Magazine, Bluntly Magazine, Badlands Literary Journal, among others. Her visual poetry has appeared in pulpMAG, The Indianapolis Review, Typehouse Literary Magazine, The New Southern Fugitives, Glassworks, and Existere Journal of Arts. She causes trouble in multiple languages.