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Poetry

Restorer At the National Gallery, Kabul

Marie-Elizabeth Mali

He dips a brush into watercolor, covers
the human figure in the oil painting. He hangs
the doctored painting of an empty Kabul street
on the gallery wall and returns to the back room
to start on the next canvas. The lock clicks.
He hides the painting behind the antique chest
he’s restoring. The inspectors compliment his work.
Once the new government forms, he takes a wet rag
to the first painting. A young woman emerges,
walking down the golden Kabul street, carrying
a basket of wild, scarlet pomegranates.

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