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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

            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.