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He could make a radio out of anything
You’d come home and he’d have put one together out of the parts of that old
Defunct television set that died one night last summer
During the fourth quarter of the Lakers-Celtics game on television
He’d connect two final wires together and suddenly Tony Bennett would be in the room
Oh you boulevard of broken dreams where my father stays up nights
Making radios and imagining the answers to equations that God has asked
Him to figure out if A is Tehran and B is Baghdad and X is Muhammad
Then what is the square root of the child’s body that was destroyed
In the bombing?
My father who I would see in the middle of the night when I would walk into the kitchen
For a glass of water
His ear to the speakers as the rough hum of some Persian folksinger delivered Farsi
Back to his ears like a postman whose hands were full of flowers and poetry
My father whose radios tapped into frequencies that the radio we had purchased
As a family at the local KMART could not
One night there was Christ on the radio reciting the love letter he had written
To Mary Magdalene but never sent
Another night there was the voice of his mother two weeks’ dead
And singing him back to a childhood where each night he would give the moon
A different secret name
Some nights there was the voice of the Shah and my father would smash the radio
He had built into pieces with his fists
And then from the fractured speakers of that wreckage the voice of the Ayatollah
And my father would set fire to the speakers
And throw them into the street
But most nights there was the voice of Vin Scully
Calling a Dodgers game that would not be played until the following night
My father whose radios could tell the future
My father whose radios ran on faith and not batteries
Copyright 2017 Kareem Tayyar.
Kareem Tayyar is an Iranian-American poet who lives in California. His most recent book is Magic Carpet Poems (Tebot Bach).
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