Sunset Sama — Maryam Shadmehr

We twirled our seven waists
and twisted our wrists,
reaching one arm to the sky.
Our mesmerized eyes
gazed at coral mists,
swirling through the clouds,
keeping time with our dance.

Skirts kissed the ground,
then fluttered and floated —
playing hard to get —
the clouds moved further.
Still reaching above,
we bathed in reassurance,
captivated by ubiquitous love.

Yearning fingertips
reached for the ground,
rooting us, reminding
that our earthly lives
demand to be painted
with the brushstrokes of our
endeavors and hopes.

Birds joined the reverie
as the sun stretched time
to end this longest of days.
Wings glided in circles,
trills rode mellow hymns,
and we all sang in unity
with the Creator we praised.

“Pagans!” Onlookers roared.
“No, mystics,” some condemned.
“Just plain old religious.”
“It’s madness, that dance.”
“They worship the sun!”
“They’re waiting for the moon.”
“It’s the birds they adore!”

We turned and circled,
twirled, spun, and whirled.
Tears of enchantment
glistened on our faces
in the long-awaited moonlight,
and we breathlessly chanted,

Collapsing to the earth,
skirts sweeping the dirt,
we commemorated
a handful of our dead.
Shoulders riding on racing hearts,
humbled eyelashes brushing low,
barely breathing, we glowed.

Maryam Shadmehr
is an emerging writer who lives in Emeryville, California with her husband and daughter.