From “23”

The airplane
has landed.
White smoke-loaded smile:
what a cargo
of sorrow.

A silent rain
surrounds the airport.
A tattered wet wind
chases black pigeons.
White smoke-loaded smile:
what a cargo
of sorrow.

Bodies came back on ice.
Corroded hopes
falling off piece by piece.

Handless shadows,
directionless clocks.
Fathers
who against the storm
bow their heads to inner ground
turn to ashes.
Mothers
who know not
to what punishment they were born.

The airplane
has landed.
Wounded soldiers
shelter in each others arms,
frostbitten birds in the sleet.

White smoke-loaded smile:
what a cargo
of sorrow.

Look
a bird has split in two.
The sky is torn in shreds, and song and light
             gush from its heart.
Rain and wind, a phrase of taps, a branch of bitter orange
             gush from its heart.

Come            
let’s gather the fragments of birds
             and make a little song,
             and hide in its delicate shelter.
 There’s nothing
             to hang on to                
                          in this fiery whirling wind.

Look!
A thimble
has made room for two pale lakes
to drown me.
A drought year
is hiding in the plumbing
to swallow me.
The mud-colored wardrobe
is a crucifix on the hilltop
of my scattered clothes.

There’s nothing
              to hang on to                
                           in this fiery whirling wind.

The airplane
has landed.
A headless commander
shouts orders
at burnt corpses.

Dogs bark
among metallic stars
and red and yellow
a skull
on command
stands at attention.
 
Translation of "23." Translation copyright 2010 by Zara Houshmand. All rights reserved.