A Piece of Shomal
By Mehrnaz Bassiri
Shomal (north) of Tehran is the home
to humid forests on the southern coast
of the Caspian Sea. The vast green carpet
stretches to the shore.
Here, roosters are our morning calls
and stars our nightlight.
On the morning of our drive
back to Tehran, I was an eight-year-old in sorrow —
The red flashing hand signaling the last
remaining days of vacation,
hours of Atari games, freedom from
practicing math and memorizing textbooks.
I didn’t want to leave the green
luminescence of summertime.
I’d just befriended the calf
next door, she walked and ran alongside me,
followed me in the green pasture.
And I hadn’t spent satisfactory time with
the hens, roosters, mules, and lambs.
I searched for a keepsake
to hold on to and found a snail
on a rotting fence.
Maybe, we could play together
back at home. But Mom said
the weather in Tehran was too hot
and dry that my friend might die.
She told me to leave it where it belongs;
But I needed my companion, a piece of Shomal
in the city. How could I take her with me
in a way that she wouldn’t die?
I took a thread and made a loose
loop knot around the shell’s opening.
I waited. When she came out and entered the loop
her stick eyes reached out to the sky.
In a flick, I closed the knot
and pulled the snail
out of the shell. I gently laid
her wet naked body on gravel
and walked away with her lovely spiral shell.
In 2011, Mehrnaz Bassiri made the riskiest and most rewarding decision of her professional life: she traded her career in biotech for educational development. She is now an educator, progress specialist, and the founder of MyGradeBooster. Mehrnaz is the recipient of Futurpreneur Canada’s “The Sky’s Your Limit Entrepreneur of the Year” award and she has been featured in TED, Thrive Global, Trello, and more.
Since becoming a successful business owner, Mehrnaz discovered her passion for writing and poetry. She recently published My Solitude, My Secluded Wilderness, a collection of poems that explore aloneness and healing from grief through solitude. Mehrnaz has a Masters of Science from the University of British Columbia and currently lives in North Vancouver, BC. Connect with Mehrnaz on Instagram @gritisanoun.