His face tanned almost to the faded tone
of the adobe alcove, father’s father
sits in his handsome sixties, chestnut gone
now from his hair and looking like he’d rather
not look where he’s looking. Set within
the keyhole portico of … a church front, is it?
the window’s periwinkle blue unlocks
a summer morning sky outside the frame.
Outside the frame, I mist the glass and clean
away last summer’s promise to return
the coming summer. I’m always going back
on going back. The years rack up new names,
new cousins and new headstones I can’t visit
while undeclared wars smolder on slow burn.
Armen Davoudian is the author of Swan Song (2020). He grew up in Isfahan, Iran and is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University.
Image: Detail of Anna Atkins, Polysiphonia cristata, ca. 1843–53, cyanotype. Rijksmuseum.