Teapot Sestina

   There is a voluptuous porcelain teapot
with blushing flowers painted on the side
on a bright orange plastic tray
on a black vinyl covered chair at my bedside,
and on the rug are indigo and crimson stripes.
I will stay here for a while.

I will stay here in Tabriz for a while.
I will stay beside this warm white teapot.
I will watch the sun’s last rusty stripes
disappear behind the rosy mountain’s side,
and, God willing, I will return to this bedside
where there will be brought another tray.

They always bring tea here on a tray,
in every room, after a while
someone bends at the bedside
to serve tea in glasses or to leave a teapot,
then they step to the side
and exit backwards across the stripes.

The beard of the mulla is all black and grey stripes.
Politely, he smiles and takes a glass from the tray.
When he drinks, he turns his face to the side,
then he speaks with me for a while,
and I glance at the flowers on the teapot
as I sit next to the chair at the bedside.

There is also a Qur’an at the bedside whose cover has golden stripes.
It is on the opposite side of the bed from the teapot,
the black vinyl chair and the orange tray.
At dawn, I’ll read from it for a while,
then, for a few more minutes, I’ll stretch out on my side.

I always keep the Qur’an at my side,
some verses in a breast pocket, or the volume at the bedside.
When there is time, I read for a while,
a finger tracing the twisted black stripes.
Then I take a small glass from the tray
and I turn my gaze to the roses on the teapot.

Tabriz 18 Aabaan 1370 Nov. 9, 1991