Do Not Abandon Her, a Poem for the Girls in Afghanistan By Leah Klass

Do Not Abandon Her

By Leah Klass 

August 16th, 2021

Listen, love, it’s bright outside those plastic blinds

don’t waste your time in turning open aching palms

step straight up off cotton cushions into rainbowed reeds

I’m here just off the path, treading lightly as the signs said no, 

no worries, just a breeze, the scent of leaflings curling open, purr of sandhill cranes beyond

Simone had told me that the frogs croak while the trees sway in the wind

I’d thought to step outside, catch my breath, it was too loud inside the house

and then I saw you, in my dream, lounging, alight on silken robes

smoke rising from your silver pipe and she was there, dear Leah Lost

aside the crowd, kneeling and more, her begging eyes a sign of times to come

You lie in bed in Lakewood in a room I’ve seen just once, 

pine bed posts tall and covers white, the carpets now tell tales of puppies, kids

your forehead freckled, red and wet and wild hair spread cross the sheets

you tell me little and I understand your fear is real

In this day Kabul has fallen and I long to walk straight to the White House

from this quiet pondside all my army of mosquitoes chasing

crickets and cicadas sing and cheer as I walk through Black Lives Matter Plaza 

gaining speed past iron gates, flash something at the guards, my tits, my ass, my empathy and entering that old colonial symbol of hypocrisy: no place for the people but The Person, take myself right up the red real-carpet stairs and turning left (I always do)

march up to you, your thin skin like the surface of a pudding oh, evoking kindness 

as the image of my grandpa would


Wait: this is my training, I am loyal to belief and so I tell you what to do, I tell you 

here’s my name, YOUR NAME, and my solemn promise

here’s my address and civil state: I believe in goodness, kindness, safety, light and 

freedom from hunger and misogyny, abuse and ignorance 

but no time to explain Dear Joe

I know you’ve read the news 

it’s time to act straight from our heart, 

Gaia, Collective Earth, the Mother she is rising

I lie in bed and look out at the plastic window blinds

as I wake my hands are clenched, my jaw is tired

all I know is what I am, all I am is what I must

This day I will call the White House, ask to sponsor 

I have room in my heart for as many girls

as they can send. 

Act now:

What Womens Advocacy Groups Worldwide Are Doing For Women In Afghanistan by Josie Fischels

Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic Featuring Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen/ Free Poetry Workshop at Vancouver Community Library September 10, 2015

Hosted by Christopher Luna and Toni Partington

Thursday, September 10
Angst Gallery
1015 Main Street
Vancouver, WA 98660

Food and libation provided by Niche Wine and Art Bar, 1013 Main Street


With our featured reader, Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen

Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen Photo by John Ulman
Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen Photo by John Ulman

Elizabeth Austen is the Washington State Poet Laureate for 2014-16. Her collection Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press, 2011) was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Her work is also available on the CD Skin Prayers and in two chapbooks. Elizabeth spent her teens and twenties working in the theatre and writing poems. A six-month solo walkabout in the Andes region of South America led her to focus exclusively on poetry. She earned an MFA in Poetry at Antioch University Los Angeles, and is the poetry commentator for NPR-affiliate KUOW 94.9. She makes her living at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where she also offers poetry and reflective writing workshops for the staff. For more information please visit

Elizabeth Austen will also be teaching a generative writing workshop at the Vancouver Library the same afternoon:

Poetry for All
Thursday, September 10, 2015
2 – 4pm
Vancouver Community Library
Klickitat Room, Level 4

901 C St
Vancouver, WA 98660

Join Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen for a free, hands-on poetry workshop designed to engage participants’ imaginations, life histories and sense of empathy through language. The class includes close reading of a few contemporary poems, then using one as a model for writing our own first draft. No previous writing experience needed.

Library events and programs are free and although everyone is welcome, space is limited. Preregistration is required and closes Sept 9 at 5pm. Maximum 25 participants.

Poetry for All Workshop