The End of Exile

As the dead, so I come
to the city I am of.
Am without.

To watch play out around me
as theater — 

audience as the dead are audience

to the life that is not mine.
Is as not
as never.

Turning down Shiraz’s streets
it turns out to be such

a faraway thing.

A without which
I have learned to be.

From bed, I hear a man in the alley
selling something, no longer by mule and holler
but by bullhorn and jalopy.

How to say what he is selling — 

it is no thing
this language thought worth naming.
No thing I have used before.

It is his
life I don’t see daily.
Not theater. Not play.

Though I remain only audience.

It is a thing he must sell daily
and every day he peddles

this thing: a without which

I cannot name.

Without which is my life.

More Poems by Solmaz Sharif