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One Steppe to the Altar

by Kourosh Taheri-Golvarzi

Now, driving out to Ulaanbaatar to be wed,
A Mongol wind behind us breezes, whispering
We'll marry underneath a nigh-ascending sun.
Just then, a groan comes from a fuel tank that misread.
I kiss your hand, adorned with the engagement ring
I crafted for you. Just now that our trip's begun,
The car comes to a jittered stop and nestles us between
The Tarvagatai mountains and Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan. Sheen
And rusty sunlight flicker off a passing car
To catch us the attention of a herder and
His hundred-sixty horses passing by. We hail
Him, asking for his help. We give him my cigar
Collection as a show of thanks. I take a band
Of ribbon from him, twenty-five feet long. We sail
Across the hoof-stomped earth together with your hand in mine
Bound for an evening we'll let your bionic heart design.
Soon, south the horseherd turns. He heads for Govi plains
And wishes us safe journeys on our eastward way.
Congratulating us on our approaching wedded bond,
He gifts us our two horses and some feeding grains
And bids us fond farewell. I gaze at you, a fiancée
To live for, honoring the digi-soul beyond
Your robot body. Through your glowing iridescent eyes,
You look at me and say you love me and I fantasize
Of the approaching life we'll live together soon.
The sun comes down and kisses the horizon while
The rising stars illuminate the eastern sky
Accentuated by the halo of a moon
That lights the road ahead and tries to reconcile
The lives of constellations that we deify
With whether, at the altar, we'll arrive with time to spare
In Ulaanbaatar, thereupon shall we be wedded there.
Though you can "stay awake" until your battery
Runs out, a human like me needs to sleep, and so
We need to stop here for tonight. I light a fire
For us. While sitting 'neath the Mongol sky, we see
A showering of meteors and you bestow
Me seven kisses, each a blessing. I'll not tire
Of your bionic love. Beside the campfire may we rest
And till dawn, up against me shall I have you pressed.
Earth goes on turning till the morning star ascends
Above the newly-warm horizon once again.
So thus, we wake, continuing upon the road
To Ulaanbaatar. There may we meet waiting friends.
With stars still glittering behind us, fading when
The sun has east and west horizons overflowed,
We set out east again. Just when our shadows stretch beside
Our path, we meet a tribe of herders asking us to ride
With them across the steppe. We offer to untie
Their horses for them. They oblige and off we go.
En route, they ask us where we're headed, so we tell
Them. Then the Shaman asks if he may sanctify
Our love. We're honored, and he blesses us in tow.
As parting wedding gifts on having bid farewell,
They gift us sixteen horses and a yurt. He wishes you
A family of twenty kids. Oh, if he only knew.
With eighteen horses in our herd, we chase the stars
Ascending in the eastern sky. We'll have to stay
Another night. The diamond on your finger drives
Me, motivates me 'gainst corroded light of Mars.
We shall arrive in Ulaanbaatar for our day
Of union. In pursuit of dawn, we link our lives
Upon arrival at the altar. As my heart you stole,
I'm blessed to spend my life revering your electric soul.


Author's Note: For Munkhbaayar Altantsetsegyn

Posted on 03/15/2024
Copyright © 2024 Kourosh Taheri-Golvarzi

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Richard Vince on 05/02/24 at 09:42 AM

Very visual; I see it almost like a huge painting, the mountains under a star filled sky. Fascinating and unexpected.

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