Pumpjacks in Iran


And worse, the drinking bird cannot get its fill: it tips
up and down, sipping the dry Texas earth. Or maybe it’s the dry

plains outside of Tehran. Think of all the dinosaurs down there,
liquid. Think of a fly dead in amber. Or in a jar

of honey on a kitchen table, made mellow yet bright by the sun.
The long-haired black cat watches through her fur the fly sink deep

down into the golden sweetness. In a million years,
a man will give his love a ring of amber with the fossil

of a fly in the middle. He will have the stone set in white
gold, or rose yellow. The young girl will look up shy,

modest. The man has a heart broken in two tattooed
on the nape of his neck even his mother hasn’t seen.

The ring will never taste of honey, but the gesture is
lovely. The couple lives in a ghost town, the life blood

long dried, the people moved away, the churches and the bars,
the minarets, warehouses where they square-danced, are mostly abandoned.



JenniferJennifer Martelli’s chapbook, Apostrophe, was published in 2011 by Big Table Publishing Company. She is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Most recently, her poetry has been published in Bop Dead City, Tar River Poetry, burntdistrict, Jersey Devil Press and Right Hand Pointing. She’s taught high school English and women’s literature at Emerson College. She’s an associate editor for The Compassion Project: An Anthology, and lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts with her family.

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