Untangling Gold

This poem won Second place in 2-Day Poem Contest 2017

1979, Iran


On the stippled garden rug, mercury dyes my family together

all the dust dancing in some unroofed realm beyond this one.


Mamanbazorg and Ahmeh garner mountains from the dank green 

boxes growing vertical in brick, peaked with fragrant radish, basil, and mint.


Blowing feathered henna from their eyes, they peel sangak 

from the fire, fingers calloused from inveterate weeding.


The daguerreotype of a pet deer lounging, copacetic in the background

erases foundling flashbacks with the lick of her soft, silvery tongue.

Petals rain like tyranny from the indigo sapling. 


1987, Pakistan


Absquatulated, off the record, Revolution spinning in reverse

my Baba stables himself against predisposed rancor, the mosque’s roar

bombastic on the plane.


A steaming bunk of ten other men bereft of things that once held them 

save a white brazen light—Silver fork comb whose shadows catch the edges of nothing, 

he questions the hollowness in that which begets desire.


2017, USA


My Ahmeh carries a bag that feeds a tube to her belly 

while she cooks the feast that she cannot taste. 

Her fesenjoon weighs heavy in my mouth, 

her comages are bittersweet.


Later, we sit beside each other, 

watching the Grant School’s production of The Little Mermaid.

Gasping, the lead clenches her throat, 

a honeyed voice sold for the Prince’s gaze.


My Ahmeh scrunches tissue shells to her mouth, 

struggling to catch the words that wriggle and writhe away from her.


I want to flee, to find them,

at the final scene where true love heals.


The waves beckon her body 

and she is not tired,

her enduring clasps of muscle and vein

untangling gold.