My Beloved

My Beloved!

What are you?

To me, you’re

Distant memories of a rowdy child

The Goosebumps in the cold dark cinema

With a frosty Pepsi in hand

You’re

The garlic flavor of bologna, the orange color of Fanta

The salt of doogh*.

You’re

The burning sensation, the sting of punishment

In the palms of my hands.

The painful strikes of the merciless flog

For my sloppy homework or being late to school.

You’re every word I misspelled I was dictated to.

You’re the sweet steam of the baked beets

On the street vendor’s cart

You’re the stripes of the plastic balls I kicked as a child

You’re as dark as gooey as the melted tar

Stuck to the sole of my bare feet in summer heat of Ahvaz

You’re the brawls I had with friends at school breaks

You’re my sore throat, my doctor excuse

My ruthless teachers in third grade and four

Slap in my face, excruciating pain of

A pencil squeezed between my fingers.

You’re my first the day of spring, the New Year’s joy

Aroma of roasted nuts, the haft seen, the hyacinth

The crisp money my father gave to everyone

The New Year’s break, thirteen days of happiness.

You’re as scarlet as poppies blanketed the meadows

In spring of our town.

You’re the scent of bread my aunt baked every Friday,

On the roof of her house

Oh! and I dodged your wrath every time my angry mother

Threw a shoe, orange peel or a spatula at me

Now that I think of it the spatula, I didn’t dodge

On that autumn afternoon

The spatula hit me, right in the forehead between my eyes

And I cherished your mercy, your kindness and compassion

In the lap of my favorite aunt After every punishment.

And I enjoyed your loans from aunt Zari’s petty cash,

The coins I barrowed, the ones I never repaid.

You’re my feverish youth, one stolen kiss

I swear to God, only one from my first love

That forbidden touch, at the age of fourteen!

The mischievous innocence, and the scandalous affair

The long family feud that came afterward

You’re in the books I read in solitude

The new horizon I saw

Illicit ideals, contraband thoughts

The taboo of your life and certainly mine

Freedom for all.

Then came the turmoil, the revolution

The decisive moments

A rush in my veins to make my dream come true

I was there with millions in the streets

In the heat of upheaval in labyrinth of Tehran.

We made the change

For better we hoped, the worse it become

When the fever quenched and dust settled,

Hopes dashed, fear, despair, sorrow

Only terror was left behind

Then it came the time to leave you behind

I had to survive, surely you understand.

To live in foreign land, hoping one day I would call it home

Years and years past, that day never came

My Beloved!

You’re an enigma, a tall shadow

An innocent angel born in the limbo of my hazy dreams

I’m intoxicated by an exotic mélange of sentiments

Some I don’t comprehend

Some I don’t dare to share

Some I never had before

Some I may never have again.