Rosa Jamali

Rookie - 3 Points (1977 / Iran)

The Street Before You Leave Tehran - Poem by Rosa Jamali

Facing the airport,
all that’s now left in my grasp
is a crumpled land
that fits in the palm of my hand

Facing the wavering sunbeams
of a sun that is cross and will not speak with us.
All the way from the salt sands of Dasht-e Lut,
it came, a dream that made my fingers shift,
that set my teeth on edge, a muted breeze,
a whirlwind
spun from the sand dunes
all the way through the back alley of our house.

Pasting together the cut up fragments of my face to make me laugh?

A short leap, no longer than the palm of the hand,
exactly the length you had predicted
A huge grave
in which to lay the longest night of the year to sleep
“Sleep has quit our eyelids for other pastures,
has dropped its anchor at the shores of garden ponds
has lost the chapped flaking of its lips,
poor thing.”

Pasting together the cut up fragments of my face to make me laugh?


With scissors – snip, snip –they’re cutting something up.
The alphabet shavings strewn on the ground,
are they the letters of our name?
With every other zig-zag,
rigid and unyielding,
in the middle of the salt dunes, flat and vast,
did you cage my mother’s breath,
her footprints fading
in the shifting sands?


Pasting together the cut up fragments of my face to make me laugh?
No! …
I will not return to the last street.
I left behind a shoe, one of a pair, for you to put on and follow after me
A strange shape forms
facing the horizon…
It fits in the palm of the hand!
A big leap, beyond what three legs could manage,
the length of the palm of the hand.

(Translated from original Persian to English by Franklin D. Lewis)

Topic(s) of this poem: life


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, March 8, 2015



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