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The God We Remember - Setareh Ebrahimi

Swimming in the darkness of the cinema

I have one beautiful, crystallised

moment of truth,

apart from the baser

grief that slows

or agitation that claws,

aided by the artificial cosmos.

We cannot sustain such clarity,

generally crawling at ground level.

Like a seizure, it takes energy.

“I could easily be carted away,”

I think calmly,

“Not sad, but raving mad,”

Since childhood envisioning

the sterile, phosphor-lit room

patched together from reflective fiction.

Mother’s arms might as well be driftwood,

draping me like sodden, stinking seaweed.

The honeysuckles that framed me

still radiate their sweet scent.

I’m envious that the night doesn’t need me

to be gorgeous,

it goes on until it’s unseen,

while I remember God in tongues.

Every time the sun sets

my heart breaks.


"This piece came about from me considering the idea that despite the fact that I am not a particularly religious person, I found myself praying feverishly during a panic attack. This made me consider atheists, or people who just don’t give God much thought, praying as soon as something like their plane plummeting or their child becoming sick happens.

Many of the references within this poem are directly influenced by recent personal experience; during this panic attack I went into the garden to get some air, which actually helped, but you never think anything will at the time. I saw the honeysuckle bush that I had been posing in front of in a sane mental state a few weeks earlier, and saw how the night was beautiful and how the world didn’t need me to go on.

Of course it didn’t; but perhaps a small part of everybody hopes against logic that it would do. I saw what I was to my mother in that moment as well, what I had become; mentally ill for so long that she had learnt to live around it, her detached, healthy love almost more sick than hatred. I should say that during the time that I wrote this poem, I had been reading a lot of W.H. Auden, and so the directness and the rhymes were influenced by him."

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