by H.E. Sayeh
Digging in the pit,
her family knew it was her
by her long hair.
O earth –
is this the same innocent body?
Is a woman only this pile of dirt?
She used to comb
the treasure of her hair,
and braid beyond the mirror frame
the wind of her thoughts.
She used to greet in the morning, ‘Salam!’
And her smile would pick a flower
from the reflection.
Lifting her hand to her temple
she would brush the night aside
the sun in the mirror.
Her mind would wake on the rising day,
a rain of stars shaken loose
from the sky of her eyes,
then that sweet smile
would open a door through her reflection
onto the sun-garden of her soul.
Thieves have blinded the mirror
by stealing those eyes
from the sill of morning.
Oh you – burnt youth –
the ash of spring!
Your image has flown away from the empty mirror.
Holding the memory of your long hair
the mirror moans in the hanging dust of morning.
Birds in the garden sing for no reason.
This is no occasion for bloom.
Translated from the Farsi by Chad Sweeney and Mojdeh Marashi