The sewing machine’s quiet hum
was my mother’s sad song.
At my father’s stall
it was her peasant trousers
that could send me to school
answer the landlord
and buy medicine.
My sister Marzieh, whose illness nobody understands,
and cannot be cured even in the shrine,
like the sewing machine’s needle
and the softness of her bones
only feeds the earth’s lust.
Mother is the needle’s thread:
with Marzieh’s every cough,
with every breath her heartstrings rend.
Father doesn’t close his stall even in the rain
and I, in a place where nobody goes,
talk to myself.
The clever people in the newspapers
write articles about us,
while my countrymen
have forgotten the pleasures of the spring festival of Mazar.
Mother is the sewing machine’s foot at night:
Father is the doorframe
closed into himself.
A pot of bitter tea;
in the photo album Marzieh gently laughs
and I think about everything.
This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.