Somehow I never succeeded / in being taken seriously. They made me / wear things that were ruffled: off-the- / shoulder blouses, the tiered skirts / of flouncing Spanish dancers, though I never / quite got the hauteur — I was always tempted / to wink, show instead of a tragic / outstretched neck, a slice of flank.
I hide my cigarettes / under abandoned bricks / in the tall grass past / where I don’t cut, / between the siding / and the downspout / where my kids can’t reach, / under potted plants / their mother no longer waters.
The act of keeping a diary has a long history, and a tangled relationship with subjective “truth.” Although diaries have long been associated with women, Margo Culley argues in the essay “I Look at Me: Self as Subject in the Diaries of American Women” that diary-writing was not a feminized form until the second half of the nineteenth century — with the era’s shifting notions of self, the private sphere, and inner life — and again in the feminist 60s and 70s.
The Persian New Year, called Nowruz (“New Day”), is the first day of spring—Thursday March 20, 2017, in the United States. It is calculated to the second, according to the moment that the sun crosses the equator. This non-Islamic holiday, which is shared by many countries, including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, is based on the seasons and agricultural tradition, going back 3,000 years to Zoroastrian rituals.
One or more pictures stand out as the book’s primal raison d’etre; that is, there is at least one picture which activates a “flashbulb memory” from the creator’s childhood and which the story explains in an ambiguous way. The manifest storybook explanation for this primal scene is benign and reassuring while the latent and historical interpretation is traumatic and unbearable.