I have just arrived, and the air is wet.
The breeze lifts up my skirt
to have a look.
The neighbors file in, bring
baked plantains, chickpea roti,
goat curry so spicy my eyes melt.
They finger my curls, touch
my long black eyelashes.
In the street, boys hiss
at my back with lips, tongue,
and breath. Young men
emerge skinny and dark,
from among tall sugar cane
fields, machetes in hand.
Just for you, they say, and pull out
long, clean, fat stalks, bleeding
sugar from the cut.
The four-leaf clover holes that line
the edges below my bedroom ceiling
are portholes to the stars.
Fireflies come in with the breeze,
turn my mosquito net into a green-
flashing southern sky. I tell them
about Tehran’s dusty streets and high
walls, gardens where every tree steals
innocence from eyes, where every rose
offers her thorns to stitch mouths,
where crows blacken the sky snitching
on the comings and goings of the moon.
Poems selected from: Keeping Time With Blue Hyacinths, University of Arkansas Press, 2013