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Baba's passing

February 11, 2005

In loving memory of my Baba, who passed away last weekend.

In the snow-covered streets,
Alleys of Tehran, people
Hail taxis they cannot see.
It is the largest snowfall since 1971
And the 26th anniversary of the revolution.

Red and green lights strung up,
Celebrate, not Christmas,
But the holiday for those gathered
In heavy coats, shouting, "Marg bar Amrika!"
"Death to America!"

Here in America, death
Has arrived at my house.
My father, who left that place
More than fifty years ago
Has faded into the white
Light of winter.
The week-long vigil
At his bedside, waiting
For recovery is over.

Death arrived and we,
We welcomed it for him.
The fight he gave after the stroke,
The squeeze of his hand,
The twitch of feet and palms
Made me pray for a sign.
The answer rang in my ear.

Through the crackling telephone
My broken (heart)
Persian feels weighted
By the grief of my uncle.
Del-be-del Rah Dareh,
I say it, with certainty, exactly
As I heard Baba say it:
Our Hearts Travel the Same Road.

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Persis Karim


Book of the day

Borrowed Ware
Medieval Persian Epigrams
Translated by Dick Davis

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