May 1, 2011
May 1, 2011
SANCTUARY where we don’t have to
SANITIZE hands or words or knives, don’t have to use a
SCALE each morning, worried we take up too much space. I
SCAN my memory of baba talking—him on
SCREEN answering a question (how are you?) I would ask and ask from behind the camera, his face changing with each repetition as he tried to watch the football game. He doesn’t know this is the beginning of my
SCRIBING life: repetition and change. A human face at the seaport and a home getting smaller. Let’s
SEARCH my father’s profile: a moustache black and holding back a
SECRET he still hasn’t told me,
SECTION of the couch that’s fallen a bit from his repeated weight,
SECTOR of the government designed to keep him from flying. He kept our house
SECURE except from the little bugs that come with dried herbs from Iran. He gives
SECURITY officers a reason to get off their chairs. My father is not afraid of
SEDITION. He can
SEIZE a wild pigeon off a Santa Monica street or watch
SEIZURES unfold in his sister’s bedroom—the FBI storming through. He said use wood sticks to hold up your protest signs then use them in
SELF-DEFENSE when their horses come, his eyes
SENSITIVE when he passes advice to me, like I’m his
SEQUEL, like we’re all a
SERIAL caught on Iranian satellite TV. When you tell someone off, he calls it
SERVICING. When I stand on his feet, I call it
SHADOWING. He naps in the afternoon and wakes with
SHEETLINES on his face, his hair upright, the sound of
SHELLS (SPECIFY)—the sound of mussel shells on the lip of the Bosphorus crunching beneath his feet. He’s given me
SHIELDING, shown it’s better to travel away from the
SHOAL. Let them follow you he says from somewhere in Los Angeles waiting for me. If he feels a
SHORT FALL he doesn’t tell me about it.
This poem was one of the winners of the 2011 “Discovery” Poetry Contest.
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May 01, 2011