Initiation by Leila Farjami

I am built of

moonstone and riverine ecstasy.

Listen! A seagull jumps in a wave.

Look! A bird of paradise

unfurls her orange

and purple becoming.

In my hands, I hold

an unbounded universe;

a moment of the all,

unassuming and ubiquitous.

My voice is the voice of

the women who stand behind me

and the fort of sisters

who stand behind them.

I remember

gold dirt


with your footsteps.

children playing

in the abundance

of afternoon air

and laughter.

Their hearts were enough,

and so

is mine.

I want to tell you

that a flock of starlings

has crossed the moon,

and a meteor

has landed

on the front lawn

like a shiny, red apple.

Our mothers' stories

write themselves—

two ghostly hands


a typewriter,

and the night

is a nymph who bears her naked breasts

in the orphic orb of the dark.


I will place these blooming thistles

on the alter;

I will pray for another spring

to sprout

through rain-soaked stone.