Wednesday Poem

Speaking in Tongues

When the camera alights on an Afghan face
whose mouth moves, lips shape words
as English scrolls across the screen,
I’m startled
by the voice burrowing into my veins,
small riot under my sternum,
circling my throat, which tightens
in recognition: a language transparent,
no need of translation.

I mean this literally.
Though I have never entered
Afghanistan—by land or air—
this strange facility at the screen’s border
can be explained by emigrations,
a jiggering of history, words
tumbling like dice, loaded,
across a ragged border of rose and thorn,
and by the vastness of Khorasan.

This strange facility can be explained,
but can it be gifted?  How do I transmit
the sudden rent in the fabric of the sky,
akin to a gaping wound in innocence,
the eyes of a child where fear congeals,
akin to the legendary parting of the veil
by the masters of Khorasan?

by Zara Houshmand and here