- Do you live alone?
I am living with God
Up there: one, two, three
In a room filled with scents of spices
And the familiar sound of bubbling pottage.
In the morning, I go to the House of the Elderly
Where women draw pictures
And men play chess.
I sit at the samovar
And pour tea with cardamon
When my grandson is here
I cook rice with barberry chicken.
Then we go to the gym
He lifts weights upstairs
And I exercise in the water.
The sun that comes from the skylight
Takes me with it to Tehran, where
Every day from dawn to dusk
I worked in a carpet factory
Tying knots and pulling shuttles
And shedding tears for my children.
Fahimeh burned herself for love
Saeed was hit on the road
Taqi lost a leg in the war
And Babak was seven years in Evin prison
With some bullets in his legs
Kept for mementos.
Wednesdays I go to the Farmers' Market
After shopping, I sit in the shade
And watch people come and go
With their baskets in hand
Talking in a hundred tongues.
And then, came the day
When everything went red:
From Grandma Molook's basket
To the carriage of her grandson, Brandon,
From strawberries of Li
To Amigo's cherry tomatoes,
From the pagoda of a Chinese stand
To the Mexican orange bags,
From Azadeh's anti-war fliers
To the rage of a redneck Joe,
From the donation box of battered women
To the newsletters of homeless men,
From the tambourine of streetplayers
To the sandals of preschoolers
Gathering around their teacher
Like hungry chickens,
And death driving boldly
In a red car
With bodies of the Persian grandma
And her American grandson
Under its bloody wheels,
And the rain pouring incessantly
Over the vegetables and the injured
And a pair of woman's shoes
Left on top of a car.
Today is their anniversary
And I am offering noodle pottage.
Look! The neighbors are coming
They want to take the elevator
To reach the thirteenth floor
And sit on the rooftop
Where it is closer to God.
They'll eat pottage and take pottage home
And remember Grandma Molook
And her baby grandson Brandon. (*)
July 27, 2007
*- On July 16, 2003 an elderly driver ran over people at Santa Monica Farmers' Market which led to over 50 injuries and 11 deaths, including an Iranian grandmother and her infant grandson.
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