“ چای” [Tea]by Samah Rash
I hear the clinking
of steaming tea glasses on a
golden tray, being carried
up the stairs and to
the sun-heated rooftop
“ چای امد”
[The tea is here]
Crimson tea—the color of
an equatorial sunset; a bonfire’s
embers not yet extinguished.
The balmy Persian nights envelope
my shivering figure -— washing me,
cleansing me; in the essence of
orange blossoms and jasmine flowers.
Turquoise fountains and starry skies,
songs of early autumn nights, which
sing with the call-to-prayer at sun-down, while
lines of poetry slip between my
grandmother’s teeth and into the breeze.
She reads my fortune aloud. It catches the
currents and floats my way. I reach
for a glass of crimson tea:
Poinsettia Red and Rugged Brown, mixed
to form the weakness of my people.
with latent inferno-light
emanating from within.
Holding it up to the indigo sky,
waves of fiery vapor melt into the air.
Ephemeral twists of smoky water paint
fleeting pictures into the dark.
My grandmother’s words sing in my ears:
"از هیچ چیز نترس"
I hold the glass beneath my nose and
gasp for a breath of my homeland’s smell
of rose water and pomegranates.
I inch the burning tea closer to my mouth,
tipping it as if to drink,
but the beauty is too intense.
Lowering the glass, I place it on the
rooftop ground, watching
it into the evening until
no more twists of smoky vapor rise
to the heavens to wish me