The Pebble

It was a pebble, not of the sea shore

or the skirt of sand hills

but of nostalgia-there- in my throat

stuck on my vocal cords.

I wanted to go back

to smell yellow roses at the end of my alley

climb up the stairs of my old house

sit at the window sill and exchange

 innocent eye contact with the neighbor’s boy.

I wanted to go back, run down the steps

buy Pepsi and roasted sun-flower seeds

from the bad-tempered, cock-eyed grocer

and listen to the street-vendor chanting

 “Come people, we have fresh tomatoes,

watermelons, eggplants” and to watch the other vendor

selling used suits on a donkey-drawn cart.

So, I did go back

Streets were lost, I was lost

new names, new numbers

my old house was a butcher’s house

neighbor’s son was  a political prisoner

and the street- seller was laid to rest

in the memory of the alley.

Freedom was a whisper under sleeping lips

martyrdom paved the road to paradise

Street walls were painted

with religious commandments.

Festivity was banned.

I could not let my hair down in the sun

I became a miniature shadow

like a period at the end of a sentence

and had to cover myself

under a veil as thick as the night

limping in front of me.

I’ve come back

now I can remember but past

the pebble remains.

Copyright © Fereshteh Sholevar 2014