I have been to many a house
Alas, never a home.
But one silver day
my father phoned
from the North of Iran where
I could hear the sea in his voice and the sun
dangling from the ceiling of his worn villa;
my skin streaming to the source of his humid voice,
and I confessed I did not want to be in London in this golden city that
I used to exoticise
as a grateful immigrant girl
always on time for visa stamps, smiling in the police registration
to conceal the seemingly reasonless stress
sticking to deadlines like they were my guns
every application a war that
had to be won.
Thrilled just to be acknowledged by whiteness
and the sparkling promise of nothingness.
Speaking my second language like eating an ice cream:
cold but sweet
foreign words swimming in my foreign mouth
sometimes tricky, always surprising
like a secret that I shouted to betray a friend
except that I betrayed myself by confessing to my father
I want to be where you are
I want to be in Iran
melting in the Caspian under its ruthless sun
until my pale skin turns brown
and I become a real brown person who
can keep secrets and
admits she misses the sizzling streets
of her burning country.
1 May 2018