Of Endless Distance


A thing elides a thing        elides a thing

the new thing has a name

we call it by its name, its name is a picture        

the picture is the thing we made together


I tried to wash my hands of it

here is the evidence

it left a wound

The wound has a name too, I took a photograph         

here is the photograph

it is a liar

it is a story

I wrote it


Here is the story, it has a place,

here is the place, it has a name, I call it home


here are the coordinates

can you find it

here is the map there is the mark

                You cannot read it

I am trying hard to tell you something beautiful

there is                      and I                      and it was                      so good


There is a place inside you where no one else goes

I walk around the outside of it, there are mountains

and a lake, its curling beach, and tides unfamiliar

I name the landmarks as I walk past them

in this way they become my own territory


Here is the place                   do you recognize it


I was trying to take you somewhere but I got lost.

I held your hand tightly in the hope that you would

know where we were going and instinctively lead.

I wanted this from you, as though you might steal

into my head and

   take from me the story I had been

promising to tell.

 It would have been better that way.

I wanted you then to know what I needed without

asking. There was something between us. It was very

thin. It was still significant. It shone dimly.


cannot tell you the name of the wound

I can only translate it.




Works by Stephan Jahanshahi. Ekphrasis by Larissa Pham.