Looking back

The article by Abbas Saffari, “Public hanging“, reminded me of a poem I wrote on my return from my last visit to Iran:


I didn't know
the meaning of abandonment
when I walked away
I didn't look back to see
the burning bridges
or the details of a beloved image
fading in the distance

Complete strangers
–happy to loot–
put a padlock on my gate
painted my walls
And, hung their black curtains on my windows
I am shut out
the brick wall before me
is no longer home
portraits of strangers sit on its mantle
Unfamiliar footsteps echo within
others roam around the chambers of my memories.

Outside my home
–now only a house–
I listen for familiar sounds
Alas! No music
no song
not a laughter

Deep in the night
someone's scream shatters the dark glass of fear
I call for help
but the windows remain dark holes
the doors are locked 
and no neighbors emerge.
only the owl cries

Too many secrets are locked within the brick walls
the strangers, remain just that
faceless, shameless, nameless
this pain should not be here
I should have left it within those walls
but I carry it in my not-big-enough suitcase
A lifetime of wrong choices:
leaving the joy 
taking the sorrow

I watch as it fades in my tears
that indelible line
But, the home I once loved
is no longer mine.

Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani is a freelance writer, poet and artist. She lives in San Diego, California.

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