Dear Fahimeh

That day,
that hot day in July,
when the Evin loudspeakers
called out your beautiful name and your lips
smiled, your eyes said to your friends,
‘So today is the day.’

You went and your walk
was a perfume filling the corridor.
Everyone gasped, everyone asked with their eyes,
‘Is today then the day?’ The Pasdar
flung back an answer : ‘Where is her bag?
Where are her veil, her socks, her money?’

A rumour went round that you’d given a sign
that yes, today was the day :
‘I don’t need my food,’ you had said.

So tonight is the night.
A silence hangs in the heart of it.
Friends look at friends and tell themselves
that perhaps you’ll come back.

Fahimeh dear, tell us, spare
a word for your friends. Is
the sky sad where you are, does it weep?
And the wind, does it ruffle your veil?
Back here, the ward sweats for your news.

And a message gets through :
wind-blown breathless dandelion
comes from the mountains to say that clouds
are massing up there and they’re big with child.

Head held high, you are standing and waiting for this,
for the clouds to open, for you
to be mother of change.

Rifles crack.
The moorland holds its breath
at a star shooting across it.

It would be good to sing and go with friends
to face the firing squad, to dance,
to float in the rain.

In the long sea-silence,
a wave lifts, oars clip at the water.

A young fisherman bringing his boat to land,
rice-growers trudging home,
they shape their lips to your name.

Your name is beautiful for young girls born in July.


Seen on Between the Languages, Series 3 No. 4