A Poem for Iran
With every trifling hiss
dies your memory in my chest
The heart is not eternal, it can too detest.
amid the trifling hiss of my chronic coughs,
my bedmate, nightmare or my feverish delirium.
I constantly see you
on the ceiling
or the wall
like a shadow,
amid awareness and sleep;
Soon, you’ll fall on me
planting pain in my dreams
and not let me go!
A fistful of soil, injured, freezing, faraway
and how I miss that fistful of soil,
didn’t you know?
An expanse of silent sea
Filled with fish,
A handful of sudden sobs
a sky of sighs;
A class in a school
my school friends
Or swallows on migration
Or like an airport runway,
A flight with sliced wings
Like a crashed flight,
Vultures on corpses, with their new growing wings.
Or a passport with a dark red cover
Travelling with you
At a border
There’s always someone to call,
There’s always a beloved to leave behind.
The hands and the eyes of my mother
The colour of my last sobs
Flying with you, a giant bird with iron wings
Landing on you, a cloudy, drizzling land.
Not Khorasan, neither Istanbul nor Tehran
A lost, vague land
Abandoned behind the bridge’s lingering yawn.
There you are!
Anywhere and nowhere
in wakefulness, drunkenness
In sleep and in madness
Fibres in my lungs, where you lived thread by thread
A thick bundle of coughs
Tell me who you are.
Every day, wherever I go, overshadowed by this rain,
I say a hundred times:
But will I be so, can I be there… in Iran!
Fatemah Esmaeili is a currently studying for a DPhil in Persian Literature at Wadham College. She published her first book of poetry in June 2013, after winning the prize for Best Young Persian Poet in the Persian Poetry Festival in 2012. A credit also goes to Rouhi Shafiei, who helped translate the poem.