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By Laleh Khalili
August 16, 2000
The Iranian


My mother grows lemons and marigolds

........in her exile garden

........and hangs her laundry on sunny clotheslines

My mother drinks her bitterness down with tea

........and finds joy in pistachio green

My mother, she wants me to find myself

........a rich physicist or a family friend

........who knows the silhouette of my discontent and sorrow

Her hands are still the firm benevolent hands of a woman

........who knows the anatomy of

........diseased bodies - even if her hands - gentle and generous-

........are dormant these warm winters.


Forlorn backgammon in the heat

........and liverspots have

........brought you to your knees

Outside the border of silence

and fear

you can now comfortably grow

into the dimensions of your

age and feel the

serenity of a political argument

being just that...


You fall asleep in front of the television

complaining about the absence of real news

of wars and genocide and forgotten limbs in

mass burial grounds

in certain parts of the world


You cook the food lovingly and call your daughter in the New World

and your brothers in the Old

and you quietly try to forget.

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