Featured Poem: Do You Speak Persian?

By Kaveh Akbar

Some days we can see Venus in midafternoon. Then at night,
separated by billions of miles, light traveling years
to die in the back of an eye.
Is there a vocabulary for this—one to make dailiness amplify
and not diminish wonder?
I have been so careless with the words I already have.
I don’t remember how to say home
in my first language, or lonely, or light.
I remember only
delam barat tang shodeh, I miss you,
and shab bekheir, goodnight.
How is school going, Kaveh-joon?
Delam barat tang shodeh.
Are you still drinking?
Shab bekheir.
For so long every step I’ve taken
has been from one tongue to another.
To order the world:
I need, you need, he/she/it needs.
The rest left to a hungry jackal
in the back of my brain.
Right now our moon looks like a pale cabbage rose.
Delam barat tang shodeh.
We are forever folding into the night.
Shab bekheir.

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