Online Exclusive

Two Poems
Iran, 1981


Tree of the ampler frame. 
Sky broken snow. 
The arc falling. 
Bone flutes. Filling up. 

Sea star to stone unrocking. 
A lion broken on the beach. 
One man going out. A shattered cup. 
The porcelain scattered on the roof. 
A mosque capping up. 
Wind-caught casting off. 

Your hands. An open prayer. Tatooed flowers, bells. 
You turn. Your sleep unwinds. The lions reemerge. 
They walk off flags
and lie beneath the foreign homes watching. 

A stranger kept me hidden in Kurdistan, he said. 
When she began to wash my hair, I wept

Nights when the gates closed, the bullets shot,—
Song. And then a cry deeper. Hung at the wrists of night leaves. 
Song of the sky that broke into snow. 
Song of the bird in its blue, blighted cage. 
Song of the Cyprus releasing a moon. 

They rose, you said, first in the city streets, 
then in the underground, 
fighting for a kind of flight in speech
that hooked and caught on. 
The bloodied ground scripted belief. 

Nights the soldiers enter his body. 
Their fists scream white his mouth. 
And he listens for them to leave
before the space that they abandon assembles. 

What is beyond me, he says, will undo me. 


What is beyond me, he says, will undo me
An ypocryte, a popholy man is lyche an irane. 

I wave my yellow arms. Girls take down the trees, 
snap them to sleep in the startled smoke. 

A mother fires flowers on a serving bowl. 
Come night they shift directions above her. 

Fingers unhook the loops. The wind slips through the hushing star. 
There isn’t time for much of anything, he says. 

Or …: your insularity will push you deep
Cargo in the night sea. The stars illuminated to lily slips

snagged amidst driftwood. 
The diver pulls toward the black pearl clamped soft in a mouth. 

To find it, I prefer not to speak. 


To find it, I prefer not to speak
Go ahead, disagree. 
The books buried in the backyard talk and talk. 

He leaves the window, his notebooks open. 
Flocks of fallen birds. 

It was a woman who led me through the streets. 
I had one eye looking back. The other shot ahead. 
I couldn’t speak. Still I cannot speak

Step aside. You do not know who you are. 


Step aside. You do not know who you are
Nor do you care. 

The forest spires up like a gate. 
A hung woman and her child turn like a clock
and the ticking trees untwist perfume. 

My family, she said, is an empty boat rocking. 
Seashells and smooth stone parts that
the mast spins pretty on blue. 

This self is already always broken. 
Pushed up through the fingertips. 

And the woman’s body complicates the equation. 
Half caesura, 
           half gunshot moon. 


Half caesura, 
      half gunshot moon

And so she said. 
Talk. Opening his body. 
You are so. 

The turtle inches through the garden, rubs against the door. 

We feed our. 
If only you weren’t so insistent on—

what has passed between us.



           And in his waters, which his mirror makes, Behold your faces.


In my hand is a mirror 
in this mirror a seed
in this seed an eye

(—storms in her iris, 
—storms in her climax
climbing a tree). 

The mulberry flowered a hollow bell. 
The ringing surfaced deep. 


Inside I put them back …
the soft slips between hangers, 
—a stream of needy, five-fingered things …

You must be good at … 
—gauging the temperature in the room. 
Her mouth, my little girl, the girl I
—charting its arcs and rows, 
clicking like scissors at the keyboard. 
Squared letters, triangular hands. 
The little dress going down the page. 

Outside the birds cut corners in her head. 
Gravity raises a seed. 


Because she wandered into the shape of that house, 
wore its windows like an inky skirt, 
wore its ceilings like a sky bending past
and pressed her little hand against its glass until it broke, 
and pushed the little cousin against its glass until it broke. 

Because the little blue bulbs of blood circling the sky, 
the hotrods in her hips
burning inward then up, up, up
a fair’s balloon too-soon. 

For all we can to keep up. 
Yes, yes, I’ll, please. Opening up shut. 
Upping up shut and please. 

Andrea Scott is working on two book projects—a collection of documentary poems titled Clocks, Hooks, and Bells and the monograph Lyric Diplomacy: The Cold War Politics of Postwar Poetry in Germany and the US. Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared in journals such as the Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, and jubilat. She divides her time between Princeton and Berlin.