Home is a crowded cage, summer’s Iran strung
with iron bars, cheap copper bells and trinkets.
Drawn to your whistles and trills, tiny virtuoso
and a rebel’s tasnif, captive on a Shiraz side street.
You dart and nip at the bars, seek crumbs or, perhaps,
the foreign feel of skin, starved for gentler keeping.
Nearby, a wizened man in an old Yankees cap sits
on faded marble, chews an illicit polony wrap.
A girl child delivers water, pauses to collect tips
and practice bare English, her eyes young, still lit.
She threads tables, al fresco among exhaust fumes
and drifts of orange trees, the city’s mixed harvest.
The sun approaches zenith; a forty-year spell warms
up still. Enduring, the crowd and bolbol hush.
Released to fly, bolbol, would you lift to unrule
the roost, or moult to wilt, unused to being free?
Retrained in flits, bolbol, aviary to sanctuary,
would your hatchlings grow to sovereign chicks?
The girl child loosens her hijab, takes shallow sips,
waits to outlast the worst of the Jumhoori’s heat.