Soraya Shalfoorosh, You Would Have Been Seventy-Seven Today

Well, supposedly, your birthdate was recorded in a Koran
and eventually someone went and registered the day,
but I imagine you must have been a Leo—for sure
—fiery, and possessive. My king of the jungle
who came to America and reigned, who needed
the adoration of his nephews, nieces, cousins,
daughters, a family that kept sprouting
and growing. Oh Dad, my Baba, last night I sat
on the huge handmade rug from Tabriz that you gave us
as a housewarming gift, playing bad daf and guitar,
making up songs with my son. Could you hear us?
Could you hear him dancing on the carpet? It’s magic,
they say. When you were in the hospital, he was watched
by my sister-in-law at home. She said, at the time you stopped
breathing, he started to talk to the carpet;
three-year-old Dylan bending to the patterns
of the wool rug searching for your face, Baba, and talking.
It is statistically proven, we are psychic. Abacus beads,
worry beads—it’s all the same—measuring concerns. Move
across the day—somehow. Move from left to right or right
to left, Iran to New Jersey. You stepped
on these rugs. It must matter.

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