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Pickled Garlic

All over Sofeh Mountain, sensing life, garlic escapes its winter sleep in scapes we cut and bind together in a sheaf, the skinned cloves sticky to the touch like lips,

firm but fleshy, reeking as though alive.

We weave a garland to hang around the clock

and can the rest. Grandma says she’ll save the biggest jar to open when I’m back.

I found a strand of silver hair today

snagged on the label of a jar, a gray

entangled cursive of another language.

Inside, the broken heads soften and age

in verjuice, coriander, salt, molasses,

black with sulfuration, new with loss.



Gramma no more, grampa no more, nor mama

nor papa near. Amo ergo pango. O pomegranate, tear apart to rap a protean argot to a tap-tap meter

(no monotone) to trap me a meager poem. No tame game nor mere program. Tap an engram

to reap a pomegranate anagram to earn me peer agon. Part ear, part peep.

Part open, part tangram. Part germane, part perm.

Te amo pero no me ama’. Mope not. O pomegranate, grant me great amor (not agapē) ere ego am no man.

O garnet page, O mater mea aeterna,

name me Armen, name me poet. Amen.


Armen Davoudian’s poems and translations from Persian have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Narrative, The Sewanee Review, The Yale Review and elsewhere. He grew up in Isfahan, Iran and is currently a PhD candidate in English at Stanford University.


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