Translating Farrokhzad

By Carl Boon

To commence: the scars on your belly,
the child screaming as you faced the dark.
The pen was your father’s, the notebook
your mother’s, left on a bench at Haghani
before the trains came south. Tehran
was beautiful then, white flowers, glistening
skin, regret. To capture them, to feel
them aching, you were forced to the dark.
You were forced to cover your eyes
and remember: the gardens at Negarestan,
the girls holding ice cream, pink on pink
lips, the sun. They scurried away
before you could sketch them, make them
more than symbols in a symbolized land.
Yet you were their savior and countenance,
you the one who listened when the bugs
on Qasemi grew willing and monstrous.
As they turned toward their fathers
you turned toward Ahmadi, plights deeper,
what it meant to have no father at all.
I hear you making lines even now, hear
the sounds your fingers made folding
and re-folding your mother’s great green
tablecloth stitched with golden birds.
What patterns—even as a girl you knew.

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Carl Boon

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