Shireen Bakhtiar
In the Land of Sumerians

White Cloud
(Shireen Bakhtiar)

I can't remember it all.
I know it was before Vietnam.

I remember my father lived in town.
Abadan in the time of the Shah.

We moved from Tehran in 1961
before the birth of my son
in the land of Sumerians;
the ancient ziggurat
and Shush, the Temple of the Sun.

The Oil Company built a town and
the biggest refinery in the world.
Our home was hedged in green;
#110 just off Khiaban Khorramshahr
where the English had left their stamp
on everything, including my china
in blue and white, edged with gold.
Silverware, linen and towels
furniture in wood, all included
in a terrific package where each
home was perfectly planned and
fitted with care in the hopes
that we would stay.

How we enjoyed Golestan
movie three times a week.
Dinner on white tablecloth;
Boat Club by Shatt al-Arab
in the evening when the
stars were in the sky;
the Jockey Club and rides
into the desert at sunset;
tables set outside in the
evening where we sat and
talked about our lives.

The engraved invitation
at least once a week to meet
special guests from Tehran;
cocktails and nuts, sit down,
dinner, cigars and liquors.
Then out into the night
where we all slept on
the same oil Company bed
in delight.

I spent 17 years on tiled
floors with air conditioning;
a joyous garden in Spring,
a maid and gardener;
painted and wrote
until it ended.

A memory now Shush
and the Temple of the Sun
when life was lush in Iran.

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