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May 10, 2004

She is standing behind the window
and looking through it she finds me,
her daughter kneeling before God,
praying in the language of believers.

She walks into my memory,
pushes the Solaris nerves
and finds herself swiftly afloat
with the Choghok of my thoughts.

She is just a soul from Khorasan,
land of Imam Reza, sweet melons
and famous poets,
and she finds her way into
the memory lines where images start
rolling down tear-pearling my face...

... once on the way back to Tehran,
"Stop the car, please! I want to buy
melons of Khetteh Mashehad
," she said.
"These are sweet as honey," she said again,
but we cut to eat and tasted one after another
and none were as sweet as she proclaimed!

Zengecheh, Choghok... these are
in my vocabulary from her dialect-accent.
Nothing remains of her body,
and all there is, is the memories
pearling down my eyes, my face.

-- MashehadMashhad: Major city in northeast Iran, capital of Khorasan Province; my mother's birthplace.
-- Solaris: The 1972 Russian movie, "Solaris", based on Stanislaw Lem's novel. It is a story of a planet that reads minds, and obliges its visitors by devising and providing people they have lost, and miss.
-- Choghok: in Mashehadi means sparrow.
-- Imam Reza: Eighth Imam of Shi'ite Muslims buried in Mashehad.
-- Khetteh: Means "area" in Persian.
-- Zengecheh: In Mashehadi dialect it means the "elbow".

* *

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By Sheema Kalbasi


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Islam and Feminism
An Iranian Case-Study
By Haleh Afshar

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