(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