Rush to the door, yank it open
to head to the university 
read my poetry
urgency vanishes

A young woman, lips
pomegranate purple
reaching for the same
door, stands startled

she in her stiff, white
apron, bulky black shoes
thick dark hair tamed
but wisping free

beneath her crisp maid’s cap
hands clap, her breath, a whisper
Your scarf color means good luck
in my country, Iraq!

she moves four fingers of
her right hand as if talking
to the thumb Wear this color
and nobody c
an say bad about you

She grins a yes, eyes bright
At the lectern, I touch the
lime-green, thinking of her
thanking her, for protection

abandon planned poems, tell my Rana
story, the scarf warm, seeming
to glow around my neck. My words
sing finer, the listeners lean closer

I learn that Rana means beautiful, eye-catching,
from yarnu, to gaze at longingly, a name so apt
it rings in my ear like a singing, crystal bowl
so in place of four dark chocolate squares wrapped

in gold foil she’d left on my pillow as goodbye
I lay the lucky scarf.