On the anniversary of your death
what should I call you, a gone guerrilla? The first female
Fedayee gun-downed to death in an ambush? A girl
in strife who left life for something better?
I simply remember you as mild-mannered Mehroush
my friend and classmate at Tehran U's Medical school
where we shared a corpse to dissect in the third year
and laughed our hearts out calling it Akbar Agha!
You were lambent, lenient, and in love
lighted by your dead communist father
and your neurotic mother, you were on a
trouble spree as you were only twenty-three,
innocent of the world's tapestry and of people
whom you only knew by the dream of them
a barrage of visions of their fair tyranny,
a mirage of your convictions
in the desert of mind.
Though I held you sighted
I knew nothing of your heroic fervor
doomed idealism and the way
the world felt to you. I only knew
you were red as blood and roses
camouflaged on the campus by your copy
of Being and Nothingness you often held
in your arms, pulling a curtain of silence
between your language and mine.
Last I saw you, you cast yourself on the seat
across my table in our joint, that cafeteria a beat
away from Diana Cinema, had tea and sweet,
talked of the Vietnam War and Shah's Health Corps
and when your lover joined us smiling deliciously,
you stroke your eyes against his face, shook the golden
light out of your hair and beamed at Cupid's dart
as sympathy snaked through your heart
and your hazel eyes ached for future
of the people, in a quixotic way.
When I left Iran I heard you were
caught in an ambush, resisted the armed
secret police and got shot under a soulful
sun that dripped honey for the nation.
With legend of Guevara
wedged into your despair, you'd been hiding
with your lover and comrades in this clandestine
house in a shantytown suburb of Tehran, armed
with pistols, grenades, machine-guns,
cyanide for suicide, blades of justice
buried in your blood.
Then one autumn morning
you stepped out of the house, items in hand
walked up the short alley, stopped and turned
saw shadowy figures surrounding
the fantasy-filled house, whole neighbourhood,
no song of cicadas in the arid air,
crows and sparrows had flown away
from rat-infested ditches, empty plots,
moments ticked so slowly by.
And you ran, ran at the speed of thought
sought to escape to a nearby neighbour's
ignored warnings to surrender or die,
poets' words shrieked in pain at once
you heard a song as soft as nothingness
and were riddled with thirteen bullet holes
as the wind held its baffled breath.
Thus you faded into your flawed convictions
far before our motherland became foul
and full of graves.
On the anniversary of your death,
I lay on your eyelids my hand's spell
and watch time reverse itself, life
flow back into you and you, lifting
out of the oblivion, fly backwards,
like a tumbler pigeon, onto the alley
where the alphabet of your landscape ended.
I wash you in my relish for life,
warm you with my heart's singeing sun,
and feed your sight with today's substances
that come from our yesterday's lapses.
Then I glance all my questions at you
and wait to see if you still want to
sacrifice your precious life for our people
in that futile way, running full chest
into a brick wall, to get them out
of our Matrix, our shadows' flesh.
(c)2008, Azadeh Azad
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