Long ago when I was about five years old and with my parents was driving through the holy city of Qom on the way to another state we stopped to buy Persian Sohan (a candy made with honey, butter, saffron, wheat sprouts, sugar, and nuts). My father took me to the bazaar where women and men all dressed in black loose clothing were coming at me or so I felt. I had expected the city to be white, the people to be dressed in white, and everyone look skyward and angel like. I had heard the city is holy after all but it wasn't. It was the year the revolution was starting and everyone was soon to see Ayatollah Khomeini's portrait on the moon! A woman approached us and in a cruelly cold voice asked me why I hadn't covered my hair. I was shocked. I was a shy girl whose lips started to draw down on both corners. I was frightened. I was after all only a little girl with long brown hair, dressed in a jogging suit and sneakers. My father I don't remember how he reacted. In fact I don't remember what happened after. I only remember the excitement of buying Sohan died away, that my heart was beating fast and the corners of my lips trembled.
I wanted it to rain so that the feeling of being ashamed was washed away, that my father had hidden me under an umbrella or I would be in my dad's socks so that the woman had to talk to my father's shoes. After all that is part of the Islamic teaching that a woman doesn't look straight into a man's eyes. I felt defeated by her belief. I felt hopeless, helpless and the hair on my head started crawling over my skull. The Muslim woman had me feel my hair was Medusa's. She was one of those many self proclaimed Athenas who were outraged at their sacred temple of worships being violated and wanted to turn tresses into snakes.
Now after all these years I am concerned. I am concerned that when we meet and you look straight into my eyes you will turn into stone, but still I want you. I want a day that is entirely mine that I can have entirely with you. You don't need any proof to know of my love for you. I don't need any proof to know you will care enough to let me love you. That is the story of us, the story that I write in which you have decided to participate, to let me write us the way I want to write us. My heart is vast. It loves and loves until the day when it shall stop beating and the draught takes over my body. The rest is known but here within this March-snow I write so that you know with you a day doesn't wear out, that it is everlasting. I expected this love to be unborn yet of all the creations in the world you are perhaps the only man that I know who doesn't stand still. With you I am this woman who knows the depth of your soul and in your depth she finds her shallow and narrow estate of being. I love you for the pain your love causes me. I love you for the hurt into which it liberates me. I love you for what I am taught by you. I love you for what I am not.
You know beloved, I wonder, I wonder if you have tasted the moonlight when you are in love, or the sands in the mouth when you are in pain? If you have gazed through a window thinking what old soul may sit on a rocking chair or what little boy may run around with one shoe untied and the other in his hand? Or have you watched a little girl who jumps rope as her younger brother is green and red spotting her dolls while glancing at her every now and then to see her reaction? Don't insult the dead and tell me how many pills are required to kill or whom a car will hit or of whom the ocean will take. The waves will neither hear your pain nor will the chanting birds withhold suffering. Let me raise both your hands and draw you near so that you close them around me and watch me in flames and not drowned.
What the meat of the fruit is to a body, a body is to the fruit, and the fruit is to the bird when the bird flies over the seas, the seas that rain over you, and the pain is washed from your body, isn't it so beloved? You are the seed as the seed is to the earth, and the earth is to me, as I am to your life, dusting the gray off your sky whenever you allow me to do so, isn't it so beloved? You live and I love you. You love, and I love you for loving. When you are loving I dive through the air to inhale your breath into my lungs. You are tender beloved, ah, so tender that the skin on my lips is not that soft when touching yours. You know beloved, no one drowns twice every morning except for me in your love. You live and I roll over your footsteps after you to hold the memory of your feet with my body forever whenever you leave.