Diasporic seeds

by Sharhnaz Javid

My baba, although born from semi-desert lands,
Considered himself to be a western man

Maybe it was the sand that tied him in,
It could have been the folk-like, simplified
Melancholy ballads which spoke to his home

But my baba didn’t stay home for long

There was the oil company, which brought his family to every city imaginable within the beautiful borders of Iran

And you know what they say about traveling

So where does one go when the winds blows strong? To the mountains? The valleys?
Or somewhere beyond?

“West we go! West”
Said many of this generation 
To the west, where freedom births new life
To the west, where dreams don’t die overnight
To the west, where everything multiplies 

But the “West” sometimes isn’t always right
Sometimes the beauty lies right at your feet
After all, my baba was born relatively close to the sea

But instead chose to plant diasporic seeds…


From the Grape Vines

by Noura Smiley

I lose myself in a dream of home.
It is here where I learned the difference
between connected and attached. 

My heart hangs
from the grape vines
that lead to you 
and for once,
we speak the same language. 

I eagerly breathe 
the same air you do 
even if it burns me 
because you are
what I am 
nothing without. 

Suffering is transient
but our essence lingers. 

What is better,
to be fortunate or real?

When I close my eyes,
I smell the coffee and cigarettes
and see that imaginary line 
between nostalgia and regret. 

And for a moment,
lost in this illusion of home,
I find solace from myself.

No longer a trespasser, 
I can share your heartbreak 
and not because I want to,
but because I am close to you. 

I want to be close to you.