Must I find my body in a book,
a misnomered bruise, borne like a gland
on the wrong side since they made me
cross over and out? When I was a girl,
the lithe babble of warm rain fell
through my skin, herbs from the languorous
green mountains wafted through my pores.
No one made the flowers speak. The sea
was blue, gulls’ flight script I could read.

Now through metal blinds I watch
The cold precipitate particles of light
from the gray – or is it grey? – veil
late solstice afternoon unfurls.
Words which do not become me.


Not Baudelaire’s spleen but Nasrin’s, which was once construed as the source of a sustained episode of bad health in 1999.

She recovered. It  wasn’t her spleen. But the image of it did connect viscerally with her, standing in for her exile from the Caspian to the frozen north.  Written in December, 1999, in Edmonton.

Her poem and, to some extent, to that point, her life.