That time
in Aagam when father, a child then, picked
fresh walnuts with the mountain girls;
they showed him the fleshy green
skin over shell & nut he rubbed
on his lips & cheeks, giggling.

The girls circled around him, clapped
in unison & teased. In a hand mirror,
he saw himself stained pink,
a delicious trick that kept
its color a full week—

That time
so long ago, in the
season of walnuts.

Copyright © 2022 by Zohra Saed. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 10, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.