The Palace of Forty Pillars

Armen Davoudian

Summer 2019

Isfahan nesfe jahan
Isfahan is half the world

Popular saying in Iran


Twenty pillars drip into the pool

their likenesses, where the likeness of a boy

wavers among the clouds, eyeing the boy

who’s waiting for another. All is dual:

two rows of roses frame the pond, in twos

the swans glide, each on another’s breast, then fuse

in a headless embrace. All is dissolved:

the boy outside the water is no more

Armen Davoudian's poems and translations from Persian have appeared or are forthcoming in the Yale Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and Literary Matters. He grew up in Isfahan, Iran and is currently pursuing a PhD in English at Stanford University. 

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