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Spring 2007

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International Relations (2)
Marie Lecrivain

The Pakistani patriarch, his weary wife,
their restive children,
and his free-loading brother
are on vacation. In Beverly Hills,
the sun always shines on
the gilded Fendi bags
in window displays.
 
After a noisy though reasonably priced lunch,
the patriarch pays his bill, and picks up a local journal
that features my boss the pastry architect
with her Taj Mahal cake.
His eyes narrow against the
filigreed Arabic script
that accompanies her photo.
 
He cocks his head to the left.
"Iranian?" he inquires,
to which I affirm with a "yes,"
and then he throws
the magazine to the floor
and places the heel of his shoe
squarely onto the image of her smiling face
while staring defiantly into my eyes.
 
In six seconds I discover three things:
 
This Pakistani harbors no love for Iranians.
 
It would have made no difference
if I had said Persian
instead of Iranian.
 
As an American
working for his enemy,
I am no better than a fool.