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poetry Return to the White Chrysanthemums

Esther Kamkar writes political poetry indirectly, taking us back to the unforgettable images of the death of a child trying to cross the Rio Grande.

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Return to the White Chrysanthemums

By Esther Kamkar

My eyes,

having observed everything

returned to the white chrysanthemums.

                                             ­­-- Kosugi Issho (1652-1688)

Valeria face down on the bank of the Rio Grande

            Honeycombs, baby’s ear, mother’s clavicle

Black hair, bare back

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            Blanket, apricots, orange tree in flower

An arm on the back of her father’s neck on matted reeds

            Cobalt teal, geraniums, black olives

black shoes, size 6 toddler

            Plum jam, clay pot, cicadas

Red pants, bloated diaper

            Hairbrush, bookmark, fresh bread

River, bleeding

            Herd of elephants, vineyard in autumn, night sky

Underside of a wrist, birdsong, soil clinging to roots

Esther Kamkar is an Iranian-American poet, the author of poetry collections "of such things”; “Hum of Bees”; and “Hummingbird Conditions.” She lives in northern California.