The first day

The first day
by jamh

For some reason
there was a vast desert
in the heart of Tehran.

I happened to look up,
suddenly not occupied
with mischief and fun.

The pancaked houses
replaced by hills, then
shrouded in thorn and dust.

The bus hugged their valleys,
left and right, up and down,
the landscape remaining still.

Then I saw it. A Rectangle,
high up, some sort of chimney,
a dirt field and stairs.

It looked like UN, on Mars.
The simmering heat crowning
the top of the squares.

Do I recall this fondly?
Or with a prang of fear,
knowing what I must reveal?

Shall I name names?
Or leave the poor priests
fair and tall? Unsullied.

They did teach us,
in beautifully bound books,
a distant and green place.

They did feed us,
chicken and rice with zereshk,
in a large communal meal.

They must have been lonely
(I say that to myself)
as lonely as those hills,

their skin burnt in war,
fingers curled by syphilis,
Zeal's forgotten showmen.

An ideology of pain,
sacrifice and redemption
with precarious thrills.

I must have been a vase
beautifully painted,
and as of yet unbroken.



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