By MO H. SAIDI
My father was tall, plump, old and cruel.
When he was late returning home, we’d
joke that he’d been taken to the morgue.
A story teller, he often would say, God
Loves good tales with happy endings:
The Holy Book’s stories, Layla and Majnun.
My grandfather was a bearded man.
He looked like the Sistine God
His face gleamed with candor.
An ayatollah, he believed Allah is afflicted
With insomnia no angel can cure—He’s
a riddle, a challenge for mankind, God’s
grace can be purchased in every bazaar.
He’d say, “Don’t pray for me, do it for Him.
When He’s jaded, He may stage a deluge.”
My father would visit my grandfather
once a month—the city was an hour’s drive
away. Grandfather had strong arms
But his legs were paralyzed.
He had fully memorized the Book of Kings
and the Koran. For a good tip, I’d listen
to him for hours and the follow the lines.
Only rarely did he err. He let me correct
the slips because I was his favorite grandson.
My childhood house was a mansion
I was the shortest kid on the block. They
all knew my name; I only the teacher’s.
When grandfather would visit us, he’d
bring us softballs, candies, silver coins.
Even before his stroke, he was always weak
in his legs, would limp along and tire quickly.
On his last visit, he struggled and wrote
Icannotcontrolmyhand, and he dropped the pen.
I would look at my father in awe.
He was tall, strong and voracious
too old to live to see my diploma.
Loud and uncouth, he was a lamb
under Mother’s shadow. To leave more
time for prayer, they both had forbidden chess,
reading or writing poetry in our house.
I always dreamed to be a writer. They
preached that I should become a mullah.
We made peace: they burned the chess board
and the pieces; I buried the Holy Book. As I
prepared to leave town, a call shook the house.
I heard the unbearable news—my hero
was dead—we rushed to his hometown.
The city was confused. A black holiday.
The waves of men in black marched
in the streets. His house teemed with mourners
waiting for the feast. The servants served
Bread, rice, and cheese. High on the roof
the muezzin was hard at work with booming
calls. In the chaos of the funeral procession,
I muttered his favorite line as I looked
at his open casket. Life is a mansion
of ice, how could I avoid the sun?
Your daily dose of poetry. God bless you all my darling avidReaders 🙂