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Dinner with Svetlana, version 2, 2009

Text on the Pots

Last year I went to Iran.
I made a mistake.
I went alone.

I went to restaurants,
They tried to throw me out,
I argued,
And ate kashk e bademjun.

I went to tea houses,
They did throw me out,
I tried again,
And drank pots of tea with dates.

In the smokey blue, dust dancing, sun patched café,
I drink big cups of coffee and start planning a film.
I eat snowy cakes with deep drifts of cream,
And watch,
As the faded mirror eyes the characters
Flickering in and out of the frame.

I return to the hotel,
A man tries to talk to me,
He thinks I'm a hooker,
But this is Iran.

“You Russian?” he asks,
He thinks I'm a hooker,
“Alone?” he asks,
He thinks I'm a hooker.
The Ambassador smiles,
“Russian Ladies?” he asks,
“We don't know about this.”
But I think he's a liar.

My name is Svetlana,
I can tell my own story.
If I'm dead when you meet me,
My dinner guest can tell you.

The trafficking of women from the countries of the former USSR to Western Europe and the Middle East represents the most serious abuse of human rights in Europe at present.

The Editor sighs,
“No Russian women here.”
Only for God

But I know he's a liar.

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Dinner with Svetlana 2005/6



Dinner with Svetlana