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A House's Survival

by Nadia Farjami

my mother flosses

a photograph out of

her scrapbook’s

yellow teeth—

it’s her home in iran, 

an apartment with 

a barren body and 

chipping skin 


my mother lived in

a home where 

hazel hands

huddled under

the oozing light of an oil lamp, 

in a home where 

scarlet slivers of 

saffron snuck into

every floorboard,

in a home who survived a



she tells me 

about the war, 

about how her 

city became 

sour air and

sneaker soles


she tells me 

that in the narrow alleys of 

shiraz neighborhood, 


unfurled, became 

restless ghosts, took  

wind by the hand 


i realize that 

my mother

speaks farsi

in color:

in photographs

coated in elegies 


i realize that even though  

the arches of my feet have

never sizzled on bloodied turf, 

i still want to try to

speak farsi in color, 

want to try to feel

iran’s breath 

whistle in chasms 

between my bones 

About the Author

Nadia Farjami is a poet and high school student from Southern California. Her work has been recognized by The New York Times, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Polyphony LIT, The Youth Poet Laureate Competition, Hollins University, Marmalade Magazine, and more.

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