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The first night


June 4, 2005

the first night we linked arms you asked about India,
about going with the clothes on our backs,
becoming expert travelers

the first night we linked arms you talked about
Macchu Piccu, Lima, Peru
I tried to imagine bronzed skin tones & smiling faces
the gentle handshakes of old men with playful half-moon wrinkles housing
Cuban cigars, drunken men kissing the strawberry-colored lips
of old wives and girlfriends
for generations

I tried to imagine myself inside Frankfurt, Heathrow,
Paris in the morning
a bar full of wanderers and drunks in Amsterdam
a desolate patch of sand clinging to the Caspian

that first night we linked arms you asked about
Asia, Egypt, Lebanon
I tried to imagine the Taj Mahal
I tried to imagine sliding my fingers
the Great Wall

but I didn’t tell you I’ve been
traveling my whole life,
observing the natives my whole life,
listening to the language my whole life.

that first night we linked arms
I practiced saying my goodbyes.

but I rarely come downstairs, see,
the world is not my oyster
no, the world is not mine at all.
my passport rests inside an imaginary chest,
rots inside an invisible room
while your fingers flip through photographs & dreams,
and the lost cities you still carry
inside the palms of your hands.

the first night we linked arms
I tried to imagine myself
lost with purpose
but I am tired of being a tree planted without roots
while you seek

For letters section
To Leyla Momeny

Leyla Momeny


Book of the day

Borrowed Ware
Medieval Persian Epigrams
Translated by Dick Davis


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