by nilofar

Under the knife blade

my mother’s broken hand in a sling,

purple peel strips off

over the face of the counter.

Her cheek swollen is marked

by a bruise, the shape of an eggplant.

She tilts over to check if the meat

is soft. The oil leaps up, scalds.

She pulls back, leans on a crutch hidden

under the torn wing of her white chador.

I see the scratches on her neck

as she turns her head. The wooden spatula

slips from her fingers onto the floor.

She bends to pick it up, but I reach out first,

snap up the spatula, flinging it into the basin.

Who are you cooking for? Do you know?

I yell, shoving her aside,

taking her place at the stove.

He loves his deep-fried eggplant,

she whispers, pursing her lips.

The stew simmers slowly.

But I turn my head away and hold

onto the image from the week past

swirling around, again, in my head—

Feet tangled in the hem of her chador;

my father, leaning over the banister,

slips his hands back in his pockets,

watching as she rolls down the stairs,

still alive.


Recently by nilofarCommentsDate
Apr 10, 2008
پاهایم به زمین نمی رسد
Apr 10, 2008
نمی دانم
Apr 06, 2008
more from nilofar

Thanks nilofar

by Abarmard on

I was just worried for you :)


Thanks and reply

by nilofar on

Thanks dear friends and readers for your comments,

To anwer Abarmard question: it was from an experience, but not mine. Once in Iran, I heard a neighbor of a friend of mine saying that her husband beat her to death and throw her off the stairs. She had broken hand but next day was up, making her husband's favorite dish. Whether a poem like this is from direct personal experience or not, I believe, such poem hinting at some reality, which is not exclusive to Iranian society. This can happen everywhere in the world.




I wish it was written in Persian

by Abarmard on

Is this based on your real experience?

Azadeh Azad


by Azadeh Azad on

Quite poignant a poem.  The horrifying thing is that domestic violence passes from one generation to another, as long as the laws don't protect the victim and masculinity is culturally defined as synonymous with aggression and entitlement to oppress!


my bad

by IRANdokht on


the way I read your comment, it didn't come across that way. Thanks for the explanation.


Nazy Kaviani


by Nazy Kaviani on

A nice and sad poem, Nilofar, talking about a very real travesty taking place inside families even today all over the world. Frightened children are the silent victims of this phenomenon. Whether this was someone else's story or yours, thank you for sharing. I have read your other contributions and have found them equally touching. Please write again.

Azarin Sadegh

I meant another type of death

by Azarin Sadegh on

I know she didn't get killed, but there are other types of the death inside. Like losing hopes, like feeling lonely and helpless. Like being afraid of an eternity of new falls and new silences...Azarin


so painful

by IRANdokht on

I can't imagine how children can live with such abuse and not turn depressed or violent themselves... How would they deal with those memories and not allow it to ruin their own adult lives?

Azarin, the timeline shows the event took place a week earlier. She's on crutches and her arm in a sling now, she lived.



Azarin Sadegh

How do you know she's still alive?

by Azarin Sadegh on

Lovely poem...I like your optimism, but how do you know she's still alive, if her husband "slips his hands back in his pockets"? Azarin