Logbook Nuruz 1977
by Amina Imzine

Last night, a friend whispered my cousin is
dying of acute leprosy. No, poisoned! I
rustled back.

A tidal plague surges beyond
those foothills. It’s Springtime. Displaced shelters are
pouring. In the Nuruz fog air, refugee
camps blossom. A dyke of pain pokes
my chest. I hold my pencil upon the logbook.

My cousin pictured the country folks, sumptuous
bloomy orchards, and dance performances
in the Nuruz mild air. He’s smiling. He wished
me to smile again. Lively portraits he made.
He liked joking- That print, a kind of unbalanced
shadow and light, does it condense our past or
our lifetime?
Had a playful teenager ever printed
a piece of eternity, I teased. Our eyes
sparkled- lens camera was our secret
activist outfit. We became brothers. Not yet
aware of the fatal
massive chemical clouds
spreading on remote hills.

His friend surmised I was shooting
too, collecting pictures of misty
secluded foothills, while I knew my brother was dying.
I said no, I’m enlisting the refugees.
I held my pencil upon the logbook.
Flows of displaced

persons were rolling. Snapshots.
Frantic fears. Burning itches.
Hiking. In the Nuruz toxic air, my cousin
and his uncle, both left behind. I went
after them, both teenagers stuck in remote
leprosy shelters. His uncle, already in peace into
a mass grave. A dyke of pain poked
my chest. I mourned him as if he were
my youngest brother.

Last night, his friend then whispered if I expected
my bro to board Exodus Airways.
Too weak. What have our fathers
I turned to the mullahs, as if they were
to blame. What has struck our land, each Nuruz spilled
our rivers, queries, meadows, and lungs

isn’t leprous spear, indeed? They kept a logbook too.
My cousin danced very well, his birthday party
held each Nuruz in the lanes of gorgeous blooming
almond orchards. How long does it take to endure
killing pain? A couple of weeks, months,
pinch of eternity? It’s my birthday, by the way.
The refugees whisper, my pencil is reporting.

The housekeepers took my cousin out of
the lazaretto. He barely
breathed, his eyes looked viscous and Keep
all these rolls
, he told me. I couldn’t help

but to hum Oh Nineveh, Oh
as for bringing him back. Here, with me
in our New Year celebration! In Spring
peak season, a speedy Combi please
as magical birthday gift! Here
in Nuruz, I’m an impaired
man, recording the refugee chronicles
in reclusive logbooks.

Kids are playing outside the
tents. I count the refugee camps with road tolls
between. Will I see him again?
Tonight: quiet Nuruz
musical tents , mild air crusted from
almond bloom flakes. My cousin was keeping his long
hair long, as he always wanted.

Hope our friends would help us, I said to his friend,
even if it takes couple of tens of
Nuruz more. I kept safe all the rolls. The refugees
whispered, my pencil on the
logbook. Dykes of pain poked our chest.