Burning Bush Publications
is proud to announce the winner of
the People Before Profits Poetry Prize, 2003:

Leonardo Alishan
for "Tired Thoughts."

About Burning Bush | Our BooksPoetry Contests | Calls for Writing | bbbooks home


Leonardo Alishan was born of Armenian parents in Tehran, Iran. He came to the U.S. for graduate studies in 1973 and from 78-97 he taught Persian literature and comparitive literature at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. His poems and stories have been published in a variety of national and international journals and have been the recepient of a number of literary awards. Alishan's first collection, Dancing Barefoot on Broken Glass, appeared in New York in 1991. His second, Through a Dewdrop was published in Glendale, California in 2002.

Tired Thoughts
Leonardo Alishan

They have buried ten million mines
in Afghanistan, one land mine
for every two or three Afghans,
regardless of age or ethnic background.

They have planted death in the womb
of the mother. Prosthetic limbs are airdropped
with food. They have planted a mine
under God's pillow and his dreams of doves.

Every night a new dark dream spreads
its wings in my sleep. This morning I woke
with a throbbing headache. I woke tired.
I had defused or detonated mines all night.

A dream so real, I checked my limbs.
They were still mine. A dream so dark
I checked my heart. God was still there.
But also still mine and also still there

was the problem of ten million mines,
ten million limbs, ten million lives, ten million
dreams, blown apart in the heart of a God
who plows with the farmers and lives in my heart.