Saturday, April 25, 2009

Afghan Daughter

My father lives
inside his opium pipe
dreaming he is a hawk
or a kite expanding
into a sky that overlaps
the mountains of Islam.

He does not remember
how my mother struggled
to give birth, or how
he and my uncles tied
her body to a ladder
and carried a pregnant woman
to the clinic on foot.

Later, the ladder broke
and he used it for firewood.
Splinters of my mother's agony
peeled off the sycamore's rung
and curled into red cinders, eye lashes
of the damned.

Her death was tallied
in the ledger's column
as a common loss.
She had produced girls.
The hillside goats and fig trees
yielded more promise.

Tonight, my father doesn't smoke
He simply breathes
as dust blows through the window
and the curtain shrugs
in the wind, a woman's breath

what is left of this house,
who matters and must be seen.
I stand in front of him,
my hands tightly clasping
a book of poems.


Two nights ago on CNN, they featured a documentary on the life style of Afghan women called, "Lifting The Veil". I was profoundly moved by the hardship and humiliating status these women bear. Yet, they also showed a resillient spirit among some of the women defying the system and risking their lives in the process. This induced me to compose the above poem. The painting is by a young, Afghan artist called Nablia. Her work and the work of other Afghan women asserting their
individuality and expressing themselves through art can be found at this website. The collection is extraordinary, a breathtaking mixture of scenes and perspectives that evoke the inner soul and creative nature of these women. It is definitely worth a visit at ---

Also, if anyone wished to catch highlights of that CNN special on youtube, please click here --

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