From The People with No Camel
I lie in this desert of no name and feel the night sky pulling me towards its limitless depths. Sparkling diamonds scattered over black velvet, I see some move and catch my breath. Why have I not seen this sky before? The city lights block our view they tell me.
Do you see me? Do you see where we’re heading? Tell me your secrets. You know mine.
I close my eyes, yet the images of the day appear before me—a day unlike any other.
A glimpse of my mother at dawn. . . . “It’s time,” she had whispered. I had been waiting for this time. Time to be another person, to leave those I love. To leave Iran. Time, which manifested itself in my grandfather’s tears. Smothered in his firm embrace, I could only hear his trembling voice, his failed attempt at words. Through his muddled sounds, I pieced together what he had meant to say: our special name one last time. The name he had made up and reserved for all his grandchildren. I had prepared myself for my mother’s and grandmother’s tears, not my grandfather’s. In them, I understood that we were truly leaving, for real this time. We were leaving my grandparents, our friends, the sounds of bombs falling, of missiles firing. We were leaving behind the day I trembled from fear in the middle of the street during a bomb raid, as my father shook me to regain my senses. We were leaving behind good-byes unsaid, for we had only learned about our moment of escape the previous afternoon.