Yalda

by Shakila Azizzada

It pained me
to see your arms disappearing
into a bowl of dough;
to see you use
a long strip of cloth to bind
breasts like ripening grapes.
 
Seeing you give up your child,
the corner of your mouth ripped,
pained me.
 
One pebble thrown at your shadow
was enough to take the blood on your lips,
whatever saliva I had left, and spit
in the face of whoever threw it.
 
Words have dried up in your mouth.
Years have slowly passed,
turned into dust and smoke.
 
They dragged their feet as they went
but the nights in your father's house
were left hanging.

The literal translation of this poem was made by Zuzanna Olszewska

The final translated version of the poem is by Mimi Khalvati

Notes

Yalda: a girl's name and also the longest night of the year.

One pebble thrown at your shadow: a euphemism for malicious back-biting or gossiping.

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