Translated from Persian by Idra Novey and Ahmad Nadalizadeh

Of the moon
all that’s left is a stain upon the window

Of all the waters in the world
this single drop on your cheek

And the borders have painted over God’s landscapes for so
long that dried-up blood
is just a name for a color

Of the elephants
a necklace around our necks
and of the whales
a supper upon our tables

Tomorrow morning
humanity will enter the alley
and the trees will hide
out of terror
behind the sparrows.


Cover of TLR's "Big Blue Whale" issueGarous Abdolmalekian is the author of five books of poetry. He has won Karnameh Poetry Book of the Year and the Iranian Youth Poetry Book Prize. Abdolmalekian is the editor of the poetry section at Cheshmeh Publications in Tehran and teaches poetry.

Born and raised in Iran, Ahmad Nadalizadeh is currently a PhD student of comparative literature at the University of Oregon.

Idra Novey is the author of the novel Ways To Disappear. Her most recent poetry collection is Exit, Civilian, selected for the 2011 National Poetry Series. She is collaborating with Ahmad Nadalizadeh on a book-length translation of the poetry of Garous Abdolmalekian.

“Necklace” originally appeared in Big Blue Whale (TLR, Summer 2016)