About the poet
Mimi Khalvati (b. 1944, Tehran) spent much of her childhood at boarding school on the Isle of...
She held one up, twirling it in her hand
as if to show me how the world began
and ended in perfection. I was stunned.
How could she make a rose so woebegone,
couldn't silk stand stiff? And how could a child,
otherwise convinced of her mother's taste,
know what to think? It's overblown, she smiled,
I love roses when they're past their best.
'Overblown roses', the words swam in my head,
making sense as I suddenly saw afresh
the rose now, the rose ahead: where a petal
clings to a last breath; where my mother's flesh
and mine, going the same way, may still
be seen as beautiful, if these words are said.
copyright © Mimi Khalvati 2006, used by permission of the author
Mimi Khalvati Reading from her Poems