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Take a Number on Saturdays

Take a ticket, the prescription, and a handful of torn money,
stand at the end of the queue on Saturdays, take a number.
Tayyebah’s unwell again—you’ve got to make a phone call
and negotiate a day off from the office.
No matter what she sees in her random way, be patient:
pull the moon or a star out of her sleeve.
Shopping isn’t bad, all the colors make her happy;
buy her some clothes, bangles, shoes, and earrings.
Don’t let your focus stray from the hunt for a bird or a stone,
and tell Tayyebah to stay away from people.
If the shrink has no time to see you again,
take those two suspicious little pills again.
No! Take her to the cinema, or head for the hills,
just don’t give in to the pressures of the world.
And then, if all else fails, ask the Holy Book—
Will my sister get better? Do a divination . . .

Take a ticket, the prescription, and a handful of torn money,
stand at the front of the queue on Saturdays, take a number.

    Mashhad, Iran, 2007