Iranian Edition (Vol I) | Poetry by Mehrnaz Bassiri | Issue 39 (2021)

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.

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