Mitra Vahdati

Chaie mikhai?
                                                                                         Yes please. Merci amoo.
He carries a small tea glass filled with amber. Her eyes hold the
glass, looking for the light passing through black tea, through crystal,
through air, light pouring into somewhere. He puts the glass down
hard on the table and the tea swings, steaming. 
Amoo means uncle.
His steps, reckless bowling balls. He closes the cupboard and the
clink back at him. She picks up the glass and its light, cups
them in her hands.

Amoo, you want leggo my eggo?

You want egg and sausage?

                                                                                           Egg, no sausage please.
Maybe I give you one sausage.
You haTe your uncle.
                                                                 Amoooo! Okay I’ll have the sausage. 

you are in your head   it is habit forming   your head writing  you are

Iran, 1975. You have a son. You are Pilot.

The morning light reaches all the corners of the ceiling, yellow-beige
paint meeting white, meaning line. She is letting her eyes adjust.

You are going to write an essay.

One Thousand Seven Hundred words on Why You haTe Your Uncle.
His cheeks drop when he stops talking. The power behind his brow
pulls back, his forehead smooths. Big marble eyes, turn to doughy
pinches with his smile. He does not know how to show her
something. He knows how to tell her. She knows how to listen. She
does not know how to show him something. She knows how to tell
him. She will say thank you. She looks so close into people that
telling seems loud. She wants to teach him to play a game. She
wants him to know he can play. She wants him to believe he can
remember the rules. She wants him to believe he can remember the

amoo flew the plane over their house one night so ameh and aghajoon would notice the lights
passing over their windows

Who captured you. Who will tell your wife. Who will tell your son.

You cannot read while you are eating. Amoo, your body cannot
digest the food if you are thinking.
                                         Okay amoo. I will finish this paragraph, then stop.
He leaves the TV on. Lumbers around the house. She follows him
from her chair. She looks into a doorway through a piece of glass.

You, the Imperial Iranian Air Force Pilot. 

He walks to his room. He slides open the closet door, pulls a bottle
from a shelf in the far end. Neck reclines, rests the back of his head
on his spine. A flower on a stem.

your gaze floats to the carpet  you count carpet threads  1-2-3-4-5-6-ummm-unnravel
numb lump lose train thought   of loose change   you lose hole in pocket  you look for it   you 
lean down to mirror   you put thumb to pointer finger   you pick one   you touch   you pluck   
petal from flower

Thank you so much amoo. You know, I tell my friends that
you make me leggo my eggo. And about dipping it in
                                                          chaie instead of syrup.
Pedar sag. You know what that means?
                                                                Your father is a dog!
Where is your essay?
                                                      I wrote a different essay amoo.
He looks at her with all the whites of his eyes. All the puffy
of his skin. All the gathering of his cheeks. All the pride of
his smile. When he looks at her, he sees her. When he
looks at her, he sees a likeness of himself.

you tell him you know he has a bottle in the trunk of his car   you tell him you love the sunflower
seed shells carpeting the floor   you tell him   what happened between carrying the lights in the
sky   and ameh having your first son   leaving the bodies of your friends and     what happened
you made it

The stars that move in lines.

The sun is at its highest point. When they have a cigarette
with tea outside he will tell her about the news or football
or ask about her mom. They will look out with crescent
eyes, thick brows toward a brick wall.
She looks down at his dry feet, crossed at the ankle.
Behind them, a square of shade and the iron legs of the
chair; behind them, she sees pink petals sweating on concrete.

They touch you,
They touch you not,
They touch you,
They touch you not,
They touch you,
They touch you not,
They touch you,
They touch you not

sit in the chair you   be a rock
hold your throat in your chest  hold down your chest  hold you down  your chest holds  you are
throat restrained restraints read saints restrain tongue vision strain belly stain palm sting
room pain hold
you stare pillow on a chair breath metre broke you see shrug you see muffled you see
face register a lump numb lamp bottle sorry hide skin flower look trauma envelope nothing
finally nothing
breathing in syllables   unSTRESSEDunSTRESSEDunSTRESSED

                                                    I’m going to quit smoking amoo.
                                                          We could quit together.
              Ehhhhh. I am old.
                                            It would still be good to quit.
                     At my age, it can’t make me sick. My
                     body got used to it. It makes no   

from you  get up the chair to appear less