Cryptomnesia by Kayti Lahsaiezadeh

I remember being a boy
with pigeons I’d release
every morning their soft
bodies living fruit in my hands
they don’t allow pigeons here
here pigeons are not fruit
and no one laughs at my jokes
the way they used to back home

when I call my sisters ask
when will you come visit us
when will you bring the girls
they say your place is green
meaning the grass has grown
since the last time you were here
they say may your hands not ache

I ask them if they remember
when we slept up on the roof
in the summertime when
I fell in the latrine when
we stole ripe tomatoes
and ate them with salt
they say yes yes yes

War happened without me
sometimes I wonder if the war
happened because I left them
now my older sister’s hands shake
at the sound of firecrackers
when she pours tea for her guests
as she irons her daughter’s manteau
as she cracks walnuts with a hammer

My country was never meant to sound
the way you say keep saying it
as if it were an evacuation: 
I grabbed what I could and I ran
I said what I had to and ran
There was nothing to say so
I ran I ran I ran I ran

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Contributor Notes

Kayti Lahsaiezadeh is an alum of both VONA/Voices and the Tin House Writer’s Workshop. Currently, she is a reader for Post Road magazine and a volunteer at Black Ocean Press, where she manages social media and outreach. Her work has appeared in Pea River Journal, The Blueshift Journal, FreezeRay Poetry, and Maudlin House. Born and raised in San Diego, she lives and works in Boston.