Reading Queer in the GTA (5)

Staff/ June 25, 2020/ Poem


The Land of Orange Blossoms *

You journey to me

I circle your square
like a pilgrim farewell
to Kaaba

Your women
in farmers’ market

sell me
herbs of memory
in floral dresses

I’m a baby
at their breasts

drinking the milk of

letting go of water

Your men
toil in fields of

smelling the
difference between
rice and books

Relatives take me in
knowing I’m not
one of them

keep me alive
to confront them

After all these years
you are still
where I come from —

the land of parents
on the crossroads of
trees and traditions

nurturing my rebel
intolerant and intolerable —

I do not own
my roots

Wisdom is
greater than words

And you are still
where the past is —

the sky
that is everywhere
the same colour

* Nickname for the city of Babol, Mazandaran Province, Iran

Bänoo Zan has over 170 published poems and three books, two of which were released after she landed in Canada — Songs of Exile (2016) and Letters to My Father (2017). She founded Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Toronto’s most diverse and brave poetry reading and open mic series, in 2012 — Twitter: @BanooZan

The Land of Orange Blossoms
appears in CAROUSEL 42 buy it here

CAROUSEL 42 — cover by Nicholas Di Genova
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