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Nilofar Shidmehr
January 17, 2007


I don’t know why I pity

Saddam so much,

I’ve never felt so

for any other murderer. I killed

a cockroach at five;

a serial killer when I had

my first menstruation.

I don’t know who guillotined my voice

first time I fell in love.

Our next door neighbor once

watered her orchid with an adulterated blend

of her under-age daughter’s urine and the wings

from three dead flies, turned into powder,

and honey from Khansar in order to kill

her husband’s overwhelming

desires. There are as many

murderers as you wish in the world --

too many circumcisers,

knife-grinders, censor-managers,

rope corporations with friendly customer service.

The young boys of my family wrung the lizards’

heads off for fun. My virgin

eighty-years-old aunt with dementia

doesn’t remembers anymore

when she had suffocated her youth

with her own hands, before

anybody else’s hand could get

to that delicate throat.

The café nets in Iran swarm with school boys,

who for two hours practice

shelling foreign soldiers after school. 

I know an immigrant man

who drowns mice in his bath and a little girl

who liked to gouge her doll’s eyes out,

but I don’t take pity on the girl

who is a woman now and is very lonely,

just like the man, who every night, shakes with excitement

when he hears the squeaking from his kitchen

as he opens the apartment door,

coming back with a mousetrap.

I don’t even pity myself

or any other murderer who kills another,

with uniforms or without,

without or with eyes pulsing

with life in the two round openings

in the black masks, while two hands fix the rope

around someone’s throat. Instead,

I take pity

on Saddam alone.
>>> Persian text



Nilofar Shidmehr


Let Me Tell You Where I've Been
New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora
by Persis M. Karim (Editor)

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