Alexander Jarrah

English was foreign in my Levitt home. I spoke the tongue of Iran,
or Farsi, as I’d later know it, as I had never been to Iran.

A single leaf floats in my chai, I didn’t know this was tea,
my mother mixed her own with saffron she brought from Iran.

My first memory eludes me: I either clutched my mother’s arm walking in Macy’s,
or bought fresh sangak from the noon-va. Though, surely, in America and Iran:

I’ve walked on George Washington Bridge and delighted in the electricity of New York City;
I’ve walked on Si-o-seh pol among its candle-lit arches across the Zayandeh in Iran.

Before the calls to ban my kin rang in my ears.
Before the calls of Death to America from Iran.

A fist homing in from my periphery
while being called a terrorist from Iran.

Skulls instead of stars, bombs instead of stripes for all to see.
The mural splattered on a wall. You think this is truly Iran.

My family calls me Alborz, after the mountain range. Where, underneath,
tectonic plates clash, inching the peaks farther, farther from Iran.



Alexander Jarrah is an emerging poet based in Maryland. His work has been featured in Mistake House magazine. 

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