A Bridge

Grandfather’s face looked like a tree

and we were made of the same thing.

Me: an event

that was occurring.

Him: an event

that was going to happen.

The night then was less alone,

she held thousands of stars on her skirt.

I was as afraid of death

as I was of myself,

as I had been of a loose tooth

at the age of seven.


When Grandfather fell on his side

the citrus and cardamom were still in the air.

A bridge was an event

with two beginnings,

its back closer to God.


Time, peculiar like magic or poetry,

taught me how the seed of a cherry

can sometimes grow into a maple tree,

can be built into a bridge

with an arch high enough for someone to walk along

and pluck God right out of heaven.




                   – trans. by Negar Emrani and Kaveh Akbar


Negar Emrani studied Biotechnology at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad and Islamic Azad University of Tehran. Her poetry has appeared in TINGE, Chagrin River Review, Literati, and elsewhere. She lives in Mashhad, Iran.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Kaveh Akbar's debut collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, will be published by Alice James Books in November 2017.