Setare S. Arashloo

ستاره صالحی ارشلو

Your Place Is Green

What one can carry is defined by movement and the means by which one moves. --- When it comes to physical objects, the choice of what to carry is made by the limitations of --- physical space and the practicality of the material. I’m not sure what affects what one carries in mind, and how it is carried. This book holds notes and imagined sequences of a history that was narrated to me through personal stories of a beloved community of former political prisoners in Iran; Most of these stories take place sometime- between 1982 to 1987. These fragments of imprisonment, resistance, loss, and hope, constitute a heritage that I carried with me to another continent and remembered daily; A heritage that, in my life, is re-animated, retold, morphed, branched, expanded, taken over, accompanied, hidden, found and projected…


M gave birth on August 18, and I didn’t know what had happened until October. Did M give birth? What is the child? No phone call, no visit… I didn’t know anything until October.

N was almost two months old.

We were waiting for the mail, but they knew we were waiting, so they searched everything carefully. They would empty everything and search all the clothes. My brother knew they’d search the packages.

So whenever they brought a package, I’d search everything but could find any news.

One night M, the correctional officer came and gave me a wool jacket, a bet sheet, some money and Poolaki (candies).

I searched the jacket, open the sheets,…; I was defiant that my brother had hidden a note somewhere.

I searched the seems of the sheets, emptied the candies… I finally gave up an went to sleep.

In the morning they woke me up to go to the restroom. When I came back, I felt cold, and I remembered the jacket that my brother had sent.

It was 4 or 5 in the morning. I wore the jacket.

As I put my hand in its sleeve, my fingertip touched the jackets seem. Suddenly something jumped out of the seem; it was a tiny piece of paper.

Can you imagine me? I dived on the note.

It was a tiny piece of paper. But my hands were shaking so much that couldn’t open the note to see the news.

I opened the note and saw my brother’s handwriting:

“Your wife gave birth to a boy

they both are fine.”

It was in two short lines.

Man, we celebrated. It was 5 am, and fellows were clapping.

I repeated: I became a dad, I’m a father…

This is how I got N’s birth news.

Cargo Collective 2017 — Frogtown, Los Angeles