This Sinister Noose!

(For Fatemeh Haghighat-Pajouh)













From the top of a yellow crane,

Behind the high walls of Evin

A knotted hanging rope dangles

Over my life it’s nigh to drain.


My name is Fatima Truth-Seeker

The speaker of a tale of finding me

Between a rock and a very hard place

Breeding a death sentence for either case

Whether to let a man rape my daughter

And see her sentenced to death for that

Or to kill the rapist and be killed myself

By a State that is the Grim Reaper’s brat


I release my mind for the flick of a second

And make friends with the blue of the sky

As the noose is thrown around my neck

On the orders of

men of cloak and wreck

Time-traveller tyrants from Old Arabia

To strangle me following their Sharia Law

For having defended my girl against a goon

For being chided by the kinfolk of the dead stud

For not affording the high price of his blood.


No wonder in this darkest field of steel weeds

And strangler vines, there are flowers and stars

Maryam / Elnaz / Jelveh / Nahind / Parvin turning

Darkness into light, stillness into dancing

Dreaming not of a Saviour, not of a One

Who is like no one, but of themselves alone

The way they ought to be

When they’re awake.


They go on the road, door to door,

Quarter to quarter, city to village

Voicing words, passing pamphlets,

Enacting ordeals, collecting signatures

In support of changes to tribal laws

Against women, i

n defiance of sordid men

With crystallised crevices in their brains.


They go through revolving doors

Of Evin hell, of the Dark Ages minds

In the language of quiet change, convicted

Of pregnancy of women’s parity.


They emerge from that hell with celebrations,

Gather in each other’s houses, refresh their vows

And keep at it hard and heavy till Enlightenment

Comes in and takes it on its shoulder

In the year of One.


But for now, the Cosmos calls, my cries and

My girl’s craving composition to Ayatollah

Were not heard. So I give voice to my blood

Ready to break loose out of this geography

Grasping the truth of my circumstance.


When Mullahs’ crane hoists me high up into the air

They’re not sending a woman to the moon

They’re not lifting the moral of a nation

They’re waving the banner of men’s right,

On International Day for Elimination

Of Violence against women, to rape women,

to degrade women, to batter them.


This is the meat of my truth I tear

From the bone of experience year after year.

What is your experience with a noose?


Where were you in November 2008?

Did you attend my upward dying?

Did you fly with me to the edge?

Would you pledge to hold me awhile

When death catches you in a

Noose of sorrow in exile?


©2009, Azadeh Azad

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