What drew them toward each other, and how can we
Here silently live with their young lives being over
There? Hanged, outside in the Square, for all to fear.
Their blindfolds a despotic foreboding of irrevocable
Dark, in the morning sun over Mashhad on July 19
1435 years after Muhammad – in Iran
Eighteen and nineteen they were, Mohammad and Ayad
Fourteen months earlier, the judges castigate, they
Raped a boy of thirteen. Tortured they “confessed”
What they never have done, claim laywers and friends
A death sentence for homosexual acts they’d never even
Heard of, the two of them, till then – in Iran
Liquor they were said to have tasted that day, that night?
In a shed in Mashhad? Or was this also done outside?
Under a cypress, on an abandoned prayer rug they’d hit upon?
By the city wall? Under the stars above their Khorãsãn?
Or behind a wrecked tank in a declivity where ownerless
Dogs roam about, all mute – in Iran?
Their families, an Arabian minority, says an Iranian
Gay Activist, fled from the province of Khuzestãn
Bordering to Iraq. Eight years of war they faced
Everything they left, they retreated north to Mashhad
Where Imam Reza’s shrine stands. Here they ceased to be
Our two – of Hãfiz’ and Fãrid al-Din ‘Attãr’s – Iran
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, like those of the 159 other
Death sentences in 2004. “They deserve it”, upholds a civil servant there
As protests pour in from Nobel laureates, lesbians and homosexuals
Individuals and organizations all over the world, from China and Congo
Pakistan and even the USA, where youth to this day are executed
As in the obedient civil servants’ – Iran
Was a priest deputed to count the countless lashes sentenced upon
Our two, prior to their hangings in The Square of Justice? Two hundred
And twenty eight lashes for each, yet no sign of blood on their shirts
At the scaffold. What thoughts came, to them, as the noose touched their
Skin? Grandfather’s dear, his cherished lines, perhaps, the ones
He so often sang, the ones of the Master Poet Khayyãm’s «Rubãiyãt»?
“Yesterday This Day’s Madness did prepare;
Tomorrow’s Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! For you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! For you know not why you go, nor where.” *
The parents families friends we – will never know.
(*) Verse 74 of “Rubãiyãt” by Omar Khayyãm [1048-1122], translated by Edward FitzGerald [1809-1883]; The 5th edition, 1889.