Ava Minu-Sepehr writes from her experiences as an Iranian-American woman. Her father and his family were forced to flee Iran in the 1979 Revolution, and she tries to convey the impact of this displacement on her identity and language. She is a senior at Corvallis High School in Oregon and enjoys spending time with her sister and friends.
Nastaran (The Love Song)
by Ava Minu-Sepehr
Iranian music makes me feel sick.
The way death draws air from the parts of your body
you did not know breathed.
I am fully aching, in the moment
my grandma lifts me in her arms
plays Iranian music from the Iranian radio station
moves her hands this way
the curl so graceful
the curve of the music so suddenly wakes me
in her absence, in the loss of everything I clung to.
The music pulls everything I don’t own but
want to own
from my stomach
the moment in the market and there’s these words
they are no different than other words
why must we travel so many miles for these,
still flung so far from their home.
Everything I am missing still exists
the Iranian music reminds me
I am just here
what is time
when the words are so folded and comforting.
I turn off the radio because it’s gone,
a blaze of red slowly bleeds out along this white.
The fruit bowl in the living room is no longer full
and no one realizes the catastrophe
the couch is pushed back and the stains
there the Iranian music still plays from the Iranian radio station
as if to remind me
I’m still here and you’re still
gone, so lost in the way the music makes me feel gutted
strewn out along the ground
I am too small to pick them up.