Volume 68, Number 2 · Spring 2019


When everyone has gone, while the clouds still
argue loud with the stars, I sit near him,
wipe his shoulders, dip my hand in the small
of his back, unbutton the pump, the drainage.
I unwrap the blue robe, like candy. Scent
of moldered covers pours on the floor, I
rise over my father, lunate, plant bulbs
in his eye sockets, winnow heart from lungs.

I groom him for Shahrazad, who’s waiting.
Irises, tulips are sprouting. Patiently
holding to his spine, I shake the branches,
pluck arms, legs, the tongue, his penis. I lift
his chest; the latches fall as I open
the shutters. Splayed, his pelvis fills with leaves.

Kaveh Bassiri is an Iranian-American writer and translator. He has received the Bellingham Review’s 49th Parallel Award and a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship. His poems appear in the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Beloit Poetry Journal, Drunken Boat, Nimrod International Journal, the Mississippi Review, and Best New Poets. His chapbook 99 Names of Exile, the winner of the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, will be published in 2019.