I stood in front of a coffin
but kept some distance from it.
The frenzy of the sentiments
was squeezing my pulse.
The maquillage on the dead one’s face
didn’t bring back the color of her life.
Sorrow lodged a twinge into my throat.
People stopped by her coffin to say hello and goodbye.
Colored windows did not brighten the gloom
and the wild scent of women’s perfume
could not tame the smell of death.
Men in black and women in strapless red dresses
joked and gossiped as if no one’s breath
was snapped away.
Later, they let the mahogany coffin sink into a hole
and threw fistfuls of dust and flowers over it.
In another corner, plain men and women wept
for a loved one in a cheap coffin lowered into a dusty hole.

Back home, I opened my window
stretched out my neck, and smelled
the pure-scented air of the meadows.
Sparrows were quietly flying in circles.
I accompanied their flight
and grew feathers of aspiration.
I cheered for the earth still under my feet
saw grandeur in every simple thing
and swore to live the life I was denied.
Somewhere spores germinated
after a long dormancy and rose above the earth.
I slowly turned my head.
I thought I heard the sun call my name.

Fereshteh Sholevar, Iranian-American poet writes in four languages and has authored 6 books of poetry, two novels, and a children’s book. She has won several prizes from the Philadelphia Poets and Pa Poetry Society. Her new bilingual poetry book, Of Dust And Chocolate and The Orphan Hydrangeas are available on Amazon.