I was eleven and you kept coming, night after night, in Tehran, slid in from inside the old radio on my desk, past the stack of geometry homework, across the faded Persian carpet, and thrust into me, with rock and roll thumps.
I loved you more than bubble gum, more than the imported bananas street vendors sold for a fortune. I thought you were azure, America, and orange, like the sky, and poppies, like mother’s new dress, and kumquats.
I dreamed of you America, I dreamed you every single night with the ferocity of a lost child until you became true like flesh. And when I arrived at you, you punched yourself into me like a laugh.
Sholeh Wolpé was born in Iran. Her publications include four collections of poetry, a play, three books of translations, and three anthologies. Her modern translation of The Conference of the Birds (W.W. Norton & Company, 2017) by the 12th century Iranian mystic poet, Attar, has been hailed by Reza Aslan as “timeless as the masterpiece itself.” Learn more at www.sholehwolpe.com.