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Handful of clouds

By Shadi Bahar
March 21, 2002
The Iranian

As a child of barely three hands tall,

I would look up to the sky

at the cotton ball of clouds,

and imagine how soft they'd be to sleep on.

To cuddle up against.

And I would tell my father,

that I wish the clouds weren't so far above,

so he could grab a handful for me to play with.

And he would smile his patient smile,

and the stars in his eyes would start to dance

as he explained the wonder of water to me.

Years later, at a "meet the teachers" night in high school,

my English teacher would meet my father and quickly observe:

"Now I know who Shadi gets her dancing eyes from."

For my mind often wondered,

and my father's dancing eyes -- my eyes -- were never far behind.

And now, like a fish staring at life through glass,

I look up to my childhood's bed of dreams, the sky.

My mind is wondering once again.

I close my eyes.

I pass through the brick walls,

the cement, the window and its frame.

Weightless like a spec of dust, I rise up to the sky.

I can smell the clouds.

I can feel their cotton softness against my cheeks.

And I grab a handful.

To bring back.

For my father's dancing eyes.

Happy Birthday baba.
Spring 1381

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