Look! Look at what they’re doing! It’s as if they have turned into hyenas. They circle it, they growl and claw at it, but they have no guts. They’re still afraid. They cannot believe that its wings are tied, its beak is bound, and its eyes are covered. The bird is shrieking, struggling, suffocating. I’m wondering how it will all end when I hear a knock at the door. I ignore it. I’m sure it’s a stranger. They pound on the door. Sitting on the stone platform, I fidget. I hesitate. What if it’s Leila? I get up and cross the yard. A little farther away, the cats hiss, perhaps expressing their gratitude to me in their own language! I can’t see it. By now the bird has probably stopped moving and its carcass has been torn into and its feathers licked. I put my ear against the door. There’s no one there. There was, but no longer is. Whoever it was has gone away. I walk back. Before reaching the platform, I pick up a shoe and hurl it across the yard, it hits the wall. The cats let go of the hawk’s carcass and scurry away. Flesh, blood, and feathers, mixed together, on the pavement of the yard. Leila or Ozra or Tahereh, what difference does it make now? What can I possibly do? I’m angry at the hawk, at Hamid, at people, men, women . . . mostly at myself.

Blood has clotted, congealed, and turned the color of crap—liver crap. Why did I kill it? I light a cigarette. At the very least, it would have lived another ten years. We would have had another ten years of amusement and pleasure. I ended it. I exhale the smoke. I think the bird was ill-omened. It didn’t know its limits. It was impudent. I say, Everyone’s blood is their own responsibility. The hawk’s blood was its own responsibility. I’m heartened. I believe I’m right. I am emboldened. I say, If I were to go back in time a hundred times, I would do the same. I would let it have it. I turned its wickedness onto itself. I go back to the platform and sit down. Flies have surrounded what’s left of the remains; they buzz. I’m suddenly frightened, uneasy . . . from where did the evil come? From whom? Is it now gone?

The cats return to licking and eating the carcass. Of that entire hawk, little remains but its beak and feet and a handful of feather and down. Its breast and thighs have been torn off. Treacherous cats, they have even eaten its eyes. Not that I have any sympathy for it or wish to express compassion. I’m only remembering its eyes—they were wolfish, gold enameled, with pupils that resembled marbles, dark in the center. Sometimes the hawk bristled and became agitated, it behaved as if you had pilfered its father’s bequest. The way it puffed its feathers and lay in wait, you imagined that any moment now it will fly at you with open beaks and pluck out your eyes. Jinn would get into its skin. Especially lately, I had noticed how wanton it had become. That last night with Leila, it shrieked in a way that frightened me. The ungrateful bird had forgotten all that lean meat we wasted on it.

We fed you the equivalent of two fat pigeons a day, and for what? For you to become insolent? Wild? I snuffed you out. I let them tear into your flesh, rip off your skin; a lesson to others. A dog has one God, one master. But you faithless bastard turned into a wolf!

No. I have no regrets. I do have worries, but regrets? No, I have none.

I go to the far end of the yard and take a kebab skewer from the skewer holder. Again, the cats disband and retreat. I don’t know why I inspect the remaining bowels and innards. It’s as if the truth I seek lies somewhere in that blend of feather and flesh.

I turn on the faucet and aim the garden hose at the stone tiles. Blood splatters on my trousers. I fetch a clamp from next to the well and reduce the water pressure. I go back and continue washing away the carcass, doing away with the corpse, ending the miracle. I’m not weaving superstitions or boasting. I’m neither brainless nor an old fogey. This and that person, those aware of the incident, believe each other’s words and rumors. I don’t. Comfortably, I neither accept nor reject it all. I don’t exaggerate the inherent miracle of the animal, nor do I deny it. It’s just that I don’t exactly remember if it shrieked that last night with Leila. I don’t remember if it glowered after Faegheh left. Did it bristle at the women? Or at me sleeping with them? I have doubts. I start asking repetitive questions that go in circles. Did I kill it because it bit the hand that fed it? Had it ever attacked Hamid or me?! Had it ever clawed at me?! Had it ever injured me?! Why did I kill it? Was I afraid? Yes, I was. But not because I thought it was more than just a bird or that it was a jinn or even that it was a healer and a redeemer. No! I’m not an idiot. But afraid? Yes, I was, I will not lie. It could smell what was to happen before it happened. It was as if a sign, a clue, a hint from the past, from the future, would suddenly penetrate its mind and it would sense things. Time would become condensed and it seemed the animal could see into it. And then there were times when you would see it sitting in the corner of the cage, tame and still. Quieter than a sparrow, as if it never had been that other beast.

But I shared Mother’s belief. She used to say the bastard was the seed and spawn of the devil, that it was wild, that it had no inkling of kindness. And in truth, it didn’t. It was impudent and obstinate, with penetrating eyes that struck fear deep in your soul. Aha! This is why I killed it. But I wonder why it didn’t flap its wings? If it knew I had come to kill it, why did it not claw at me? It is true that I was wearing gloves (they were thick and could withstand the creature’s claws and experienced beak), but why did it not struggle? If what people said was true, why did it do nothing? Why did its strength fail?

I aim the hose at the animal’s remains and I wash it toward the mouth of the well. It is larger than the opening. I stab it with the skewer to shove it in. I don’t want it to get stuck there. Torn flesh and feathers sink in and water rises to the surface. Wouldn’t it have been better if I had burned it? What if it stays there and continues to cause trouble? For a moment I laugh at the thought and a second later I’m angered by it. The ridiculousness of it causes laughter and its probability creates dread. My anger deepens.

Regardless, the essence of what people said was true. They did exaggerate, but the crux of the story was factual. The bird attacking Jaber was true, but not the drivel about it clawing at his jacket, tearing his pocket, and pecking at the coins that fell out. That didn’t happen. I saw it attack Jaber, and if it weren’t for Hamid he would have surely lost his eyes, gone blind.

When Jaber arrived, the hawk was sitting there, pecking at its feathers. It was tame when he walked in and said hello. Perhaps it was because Jaber asked what the bird was worth that it suddenly started acting as if it was possessed by spirits. In any case, as soon as Jaber Khan saw the hawk, he said he was willing to forgo the last three installments of what we owed him in exchange for the bird. I was willing, but Hamid said he would rather die than give up the hawk. He said he would somehow come up with the money. He said all this quietly, so Mother wouldn’t hear. But Jaber wouldn’t give up. He raised his voice and shouted that money doesn’t grow like weeds, that it doesn’t come free for him to squander it. Hamid was still composed. He said what we borrowed, we would repay. He said there was no need to shout. He said we have a reputation to maintain. But Jaber wouldn’t relent. It was then that I realized he was using the remainder of the loan only as an excuse. Before he saw the hawk, he never used to gripe about money. But now he had seen it and he wanted it. I’m certain that’s what it was all about. He stuck his face in Hamid’s face and demanded the bird or the money, immediately. And he yelled that he wasn’t running an orphanage! It was then that Hamid went crazy and told Jaber to shut his trap. I know why he said it. Hamid was always sensitive about not having a father, as was I. He looked at Jaber and told him to shut his mouth or he would shut it for him. Jaber knew if Hamid lost his temper he could tear him apart. He knew Hamid had no fear and was good at wielding a knife. He backed down. But Hamid was still looking for a fight. He was just warming up. He said he would have that primate, that parasite, that usurer, sent to the wastelands. I put my hand on Jaber’s shoulder and told him it was best that he leave, that he should go before trouble starts. Jaber turned around, grumbled, and was about to head for the door, but the hawk didn’t give him a chance. It leaped and flew at him with such force that if its foot was not bound by a rope Jaber would now be in the ground.

I had heard how agile hawks were, but until that day I had not seen it with my own eyes. Sharp, swift, it flew aiming for Jaber’s jugular and . . . I told you, if Hamid had not been wise and had not tied down the bird, Jaber would have been in awful trouble and his place would have been in a grave. The hawk didn’t reach Jaber, but it shrieked and screeched until he left. It ruffled its feathers, flapped its wings, and leaped from side to side. In fact, what happened that day became the bane of its existence. Word spread that the hawk was clairvoyant. People said it had clawed at Jaber the moneymonger. They said that it had an eye for truth and justice, that it could distinguish between a man and a scoundrel . . . and other such nonsense. If it had an eye for justice, why didn’t it pluck out Hamid’s eyes? Didn’t it see the ruse he was contriving? Didn’t it see his hoax? Didn’t those damn eyes see all that Hamid was doing? Didn’t the bird see any of it?

Hamid had people stand on a line that stretched ten houses away. You should have seen the racket we had going! I set the rates, he ran the business. Hordes of people came for a single look at the hawk. The first person on line would come in and stand in front of the hawk for a few seconds. The theory was that if the bird leaped and thrashed about, it meant that the person was shrewd, shameless, a profiteer and an exploiter; and if it remained quiet, the person was honest, innocent, and pure. The idiots! The hawk decreed whether they were a human being or an animal! They didn’t know! They couldn’t understand! An animal was judging whether they were man or beast! And with people this asinine, we treated them like asses. We stuck their heads in the trough and worked them. Each in our own way. Hamid took charge of the men’s line, I managed the women. We each did our own thing. Hamid was busy with money and I with . . . we left each other alone. I would sit and look, leer, and lecherously lust. People brought girls before they asked for their hand in marriage, they brought fiancées before they wed, they brought wives before they divorced, and sisters-in-law before . . . whatever they wanted, from hen’s milk to human life, we offered it. They wanted us to offer it and so we did!

In the beginning the hawk wasn’t all that wrong. It was impressively menacing when the town’s riffraff stood before it. It must have seen things. But then sometimes it would hang its head and slouch in front of those same scoundrels. Its behavior was inconsistent and unpredictable. But it wasn’t its fault! After all, it was a bird, an animal, not a human being. It wasn’t a prophet! We were the ones who had painted a zebra and passed it off as a peacock and created a miracle. We had squeezed a profit out of nothing. Admit that I was right to snuff it out. Admit that I was right to do away with it. At some point, I came to and realized that we were creating sinners, may God forgive. Now I pour water on the bloodstained tiles and God bears witness that today I crush sinners. Praise be to God.

In fact, take the story of me and the hawk to be that of Moses and the Samaritans. God alone knows what I have done and why I have done it. The sheep-worshiping sheep would stand in line and beg, plead, and whine as if it was the line to enter heaven. And Hamid would rope them in and swindle them. He paid twenty tumans for the bird and made twenty thousand from it, believe me. Of course, I don’t deny my brother’s cleverness. He said when he saw the bird in the Sadassmal market, it grabbed his eye and he bought it. If it were me, I’m not sure I would have bought it, but Hamid did, and he brought it home and he scored. When I say scored, ignore the fact that he is now in prison. He will be gone for only a few days, a few months at most, and then he will come back and take the money he has stashed away and he won’t have a care in the world. The only thing that will likely trouble him is the absence of the bird. He will pine for it and grieve for a few days and then he will revert to his old self—a rogue, a thug. If you ask me, I will even say that he wasn’t all that wise. If he was, he would have noticed that the hawk only sometimes hit the bull’s-eye, not always. The glitter of coins had blinded him. And he put the blame for that final trouble on Mahmoud the pigeon flyer. He said Mahmoud was the one who had spread rumors all over town. He said he was the one who led the crowds. He said it was his mischief.

I stab the skewer into the well. It unclogs and the water sinks in. I throw down the hose, turn off the water, and I sit on the stone bench near the front door. Now, other than a piece of its skin, its claws and its beak, nothing is left of the hawk. If Mahmoud finds out, he will give alms. Oh how peacefully he will sleep after these past months! Free from the nightmare of the hawk, his pigeons can again take wing and fly. Not that I ever saw it hunt the pigeons. The hawk wasn’t greedy; it was blamed for Hamid’s petty thieveries. Two or three times he caught poor Mahmoud’s swift pigeons, cut off their heads, and fed them to the hawk. He said the bird craves fresh meat and if it doesn’t get some, it will fly off and leave. Mahmoud had his suspicions and filed a complaint. But Hamid was devious. He bound the bird’s beak with thick tape and covered its eyes with a rag and hid it in some corner. When the policeman came, he looked around, found nothing, and left. It was then that Mahmoud became vengeful. And it is because of all this that I say Hamid was a fool.

It had hardly been two or three months into our carefree living and reveling when one morning we woke up and found out that rumor had spread from the twin poles all the way to Ab-sardar that the hawk had healing powers. God forbid! The house turned into a shrine. We bolted the door, but it wasn’t sturdy enough. We thought it would break open any minute. We stood with our backs braced against it, barricading it. Hamid and me on this side, throngs of the suffering on the other side . . . the lame wanting to walk, the mute wanting to speak, the blind wanting to see. It was bedlam. We quickly realized it had all gotten out of hand. Mighty God! Droves and droves of cripples, climbing over each other, jeering.

We wondered what to do. Hamid said we should set the hawk free and let it fly away before the police arrived. If they came, they would penalize us both for having bought a banned bird as well as for the hoax. Have no doubt, they would fix it so that there would be jail time, too. In the end we hid the bird. Still, when the police came, they took Hamid away. Now, it’s just me and this house, and no Mother. She left that very first day—the day we lined up the crowd and put on a show. She said it was sinful. She said it was ill-fated. She cursed us. She said she will leave and not come back unless we repent. I think she realized that the hawk had dignity, that it could see and perceive goodness and decency. Mother was old, but she wasn’t blind, she wasn’t deaf. Had she not heard how the bird had bowed its head before Seyed Javad the cobbler?! They say the old man was sitting in his shop, under the stairs, the bird had flown out of Hamid’s grasp and gone over to him and had bowed its head in respect, as if greeting him in bird language. Had she not heard all about it?! Most certainly she had. But she was against its presence. She couldn’t tolerate it. She said it was God’s test. The hawk had come to evaluate us. It was our blight. Once we started our ungodly deed, Mother left and sought refuge in our ancestral estate. She said, I will not return until you repent. Perhaps the story about the hawk and Seyed Javad was Hamid’s fabrication. He had contrived it to boost our business. Perhaps. Who knows?

I go. I go to the cellar searching for the large can of kerosene. I trip over the edge of the mattress and I’m about to fall. Frustrated by my fate, I kick the pillow. On it, here and there, strands of hair the color of wine, the color of black olives. Here and there, strands of blond. May God forgive me! I had turned a blind eye to Hamid’s deeds, and he to my doings. Will God overlook my sins? I committed adultery with unmarried women. Will God absolve me?

When Mother went away, the house was left without a woman. We started smelling foul. We had no proper food. And I became more tight-fisted. I said, You want to see the hawk? Dinner! You want to see the hawk? Lunch! One glimpse of the bird? Wash! One peek at it flapping its wings? Sweep! And there was suddenly clamor on the women’s line, Hey! I will! I’ll wash! I’ll cook! I’ll sweep! And when I realized they were stepping forward and not drawing back, I said, Lie down!

I sit on the mattress. I’m remorseful. I run my hands over my face. Repentant. I curse at the people, at the women, at Hamid, at the hawk, at the devil. God, forgive me! Forgive! Forgive! Forgive! Not for having killed the animal, but for what we became. God save me! Save me! Save me! We turned into beasts! O God, o God . . . talk to me! Confer with sinful me. Have you no guilt!? Committed no sin!? Have you never profited illicitly!? Have you never perpetrated the forbidden!?

I said, You want to see the bird in private, you must give to me in private. I said, You want me to grant your wish, you must satisfy my need. And they did. The bird fulfilled their desire and they mine. They stroked the bird and I stroked them.

I did wrong, wrong . . . But to the one and only God I vow, I spoke neither more nor less than the truth. I said nothing other than what I had seen and offered nothing other than what I had heard. I didn’t say the bird was a miracle. But I didn’t say it wasn’t. I didn’t say I believed, nor did I say I didn’t. All I know is that if it were true and the bird was what it seemed, then woe is me! I can still hear it scream. I had sinned and it had seen and it was shrieking. I killed it before it plucked out my eyes. I killed it to stay alive. Have you ever seen a murderer? I am one. I suffer for having slayed that animal. A guilty conscience will kill me. Have you ever seen a sacrificial offering? I am one. I am a sacrificed murderer, murderer of the killed. Its blood is on my hands. I am forever cursed for the blood I spilled. I fell victim. May you not sin, nor commit evil after me. Amen!

I take the can of kerosene and struggle to haul it up the cellar stairs. I drag it through the door. I lug it over to what is left of the carcass. I tip it, kerosene pours out over the hawk’s remains, over its beak and claws. I reach into my pocket for matches, I light one, and I throw it down for the remnants to go up in flames, to turn into smoke, to disappear; to go where it came from, to hell. Flames rise, they lick over the beak and claws, they devour them. The hawk turns to smoke. The flames subside.

I turn on the water, aim the hose at the remaining ashes, and drive them toward the well. Someone is knocking. The son-of-a-whore is now pounding on the door. I go to open it and to pummel whoever is on the other side. I will make their mother mourn; be it man, woman, or child, young or old. They’re all guilty. We’re all guilty. The way I swing open the door and the rage I’m in make Ghader leap back and almost drop the box of confections he’s holding. He stammers and quickly holds the box out for me to take a sweetmeat. He says he came an hour ago, I wasn’t in, he left, and has now come again. With pleasantries he invites me to sweeten my palate. I’m still silent. He brings the box closer, meaning, Take one. I don’t. He puts the cover back on the box and apologizes, ashamed that he has come at a bad time. But, he says, he has come in joy. He considers himself grateful to Hamid, grateful to me, indebted to the hawk. He says everything he has he owes to the hawk. He says had it not been for the bird his manhood would not have returned and Ozra would not be with child. I say nothing. He asks about the hawk. I say it has gone, escaped. He sighs. He steps forward to offer his condolences. I step back. I glower, hoping he will get lost, leave. I give him no chance to chatter. He understands. Holding the box he says good-bye, the cuckolded jerk goes on his way!

I close the door and lean against it. I’m drained. Someday soon, when Ozra’s child is born, how will he know who his father is? How he came to be? What he is? I have planted seeds in so many wombs. How will they know from where they came? How they were conceived? Who can they ask about their forefathers?

You are of the same blood as me, from my veins, my roots. Now do you understand why I killed? Do you know why I’m telling you? Who do I have other than you to say this to? Who is there closer to me than you, dearer to me than you? You are my child. You are my children. My daughters, my sons. Your fetus was formed one night as the hawk shrieked . . . one day in exchange for stroking it. Is your mother Leila? Geisu? Tahereh? Don’t be ashamed. I’m like you, you’re like me. After all, who am I? Am I not a bastard? You come from me who you don’t know, I come from a father who I never knew, my father came from his father who he didn’t know . . . Where did this evil that plagues us come from, the evil that can’t leave, that has no way back? How far will it go? Will it stop with you? Will you be the end of it? May God make it so. May this endless game end. I grabbed it, covered its eyes with a rag, secured its beak with tape. With its wings tied, I threw it for the cats to enjoy. Look! Look what they are doing! It’s as if they have turned into hyenas. They circle it, they growl and claw at it, but they have no guts. They are still afraid. They cannot believe that its wings are tied, its beak is bound, and its eyes are covered. The bird is shrieking, struggling, suffocating. I’m wondering how it will all end when I hear a knock at the front door . . .

بي‌پدر” © Yasser Nourouzi. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Sara Khalili. All rights reserved.

ببين! ببين چه مي‌كنند! كفتار شده‌اند انگار. دوره‌اش مي‌كنند و خرناس مي‌كشند و پنجه مي‌اندازند اما زَهره ندارند. هنوز خوف دارند. باور ندارند كَت‌‌بسته باشد، منقاربسته، چشم‌بسته. حيوان به تقلا افتاده، خفه، جيغ جيغ مي‌كند. و مانده‌ام به ختم كار كه در مي‌زنند. محل نمي‌دهم. حتم دارم از آن جَماعتِ غُربتي‌اند. دوباره مي‌كوبند. روي سكو پا به پا مي‌شوم، دوبه‌شك، نكند ليلا باشد؟ بلند مي‌شوم، مي‌روم سمت در. گربه‌ها، آن‌سوتر خُر خُر مي‌كنند؛ به زبان خودشان، شكر به جان من شايد! نمي‌بينم. حالا لابد بي‌تكان شده حيوان و لاشه‌اش دريده و كُركش ليسيده. گوش مي‌چسبانم به در. كسي نيست. بوده اما حالا نيست. رفته. برمي‌گردم - نرسيده به سكو - لِنگِ كفشي برمي‌دارم، پرت مي‌كنم، مي‌رود مي‌خورد به ديوار. گربه‌ها نعشِ حيوان را رها مي‌كنند و پا مي‌گذارند به فرار. گوشت و خون و كُرك، به هم آغشته كَفِ حياط. تَن كفيده. حالا ديگر ليلا و عذرا و طاهره چه فرق دارد؟ دستم به كجا بند است؟ كُفري‌اَم؛ از قرقي، از حميد، از مردم، مردان، زنان... بيشتر از دست خودم.

خون دلمه بسته، ماسيده، گُه‌رنگ شده؛ گُه‌جگر. چرا كشتم؟ سيگاري مي‌گيرانم. كَمِ كَمِ ده سالِ ديگر عمر داشت حيوان. ده سالِ ديگر عيش داشتيم؛ مُنَغَّص كردم. دود را بيرون مي‌دهم. فكر مي‌كنم شومي داشت. حد نمي‌شناخت. خيره بود. مي‌گويم خون هر كس پاي خودش است. خونِ قرقي پاي خودش است. كام مي‌گيرم. فكر مي‌كنم كه درست فكر مي‌كنم. رگ به گردن مي‌آورم. مي‌گويم صد بار هم اگر برگردم، همان مي‌كنم. حقش را كف دستش گذاشتم. شرش را به خودش گرداندم. برمي‌گردم، مي‌نشينم. مگس‌ها پر گرفته‌اند دور مانده‌­لاشه، وز وز مي‌كنند. هراسانم؛ مُشَوّش؛ كه شَرّ از كجا بود؟ از كه بود؟ رفت؟

گربه‌ها برمي‌گردند به ليسه‌كشي و لاشه‌خواري. از آن همه قرقي،‌ حالا فقط پنجه مانده و منقار. تن و ران،‌ دريده شده و مُشتي پَر و كُرك مانده. بي‌صفت، گربه، چشم‌ها را هم خورده. نه اينكه دلسوزي كنم. رحم نمي‌آورم. چشم‌هاش را ياد مي‌كنم فقط؛ كه گُرگ بود و طلاكوب با مردمكِ تيله‌‌‌شكل، تيره، در ميان. چنان بُراق مي‌شد گاهي كه ارث پدرش را خورده‌اي انگار. و آن‌طور كه پُف به كرك‌هاش مي‌انداخت و كمين مي‌گرفت، مي‌گفتي الان است پَرّه بكشد و منقار بيندازد و تخم چشم‌هات را درآورد. جن به جلدش مي‌رفت. به‌خصوص اين اواخر كه ديدم لَش شده حيوان.‌ شبِ آخرِ با لیلا، صدايي ‌‌كرد و غرشي كه خوف كردم. قبل‌تر هم، كم از اين نمي‌كرد. فراموشش شده بود، چشم‌سفيد، آن گوشت‌هاي لُخم كه حرامش مي‌كرديم. مي‌داديم بخوري به قاعده‌ي دو كفترِ پروار كه چه؟! دور برداري؟! هاري كني؟! نفست را بريدم. دادم تنت را بدرند، پوستت را بكنند؛ عبرتِ مردم. سگ، خداش يكي‌ست، صاحبش يكي. تو صاحب‌مُرده لامذهب گُرگ شدي؟!

نه! نادم نيستم. نگراني دارم اما ندامت نه، ندارم.

بلند مي‌شوم مي‌روم تَهِ حياط و سيخي از سيخ‌دان بيرون مي‌كشم. گربه‌ها دوباره پا پس مي‌كشند و مي‌روند. امعا و احشاء‌ِ مانده را چرا وارسي مي‌كنم نمي‌دانم. حقيقت، چيزي‌ست در كُرك و گوشتِ به هم آغشته‌ انگار و من، در جستجويِ آن.

شيرِ آب را باز مي‌كنم و شلنگ مي‌گيرم روي كاشي‌ها. خون، شتك مي‌زند به پاچه‌ي شلوار. مي‌روم، بَستِ چاه‌آبِ حياط را برمي‌دارم، فشار آب را كم مي‌كنم. برمي‌گردم به شستن لاشه؛ به مَحوِ جنازه؛ خَتمِ معجزه. نه اينكه خرافات ببافم، لاف بزنم. نه اينكه اُمُّل باشم و بي‌مغز. اين و آن، قريب به اتفاق، چشم به دهان هم دارند. من ندارم. راحت، نه مي‌پذيرم، نه رد مي‌كنم. اغراق نمي‌كنم اعجازِ غريزي حيوان را، نديد هم نمي‌گيرم. فقط درست خاطرم نيست شبِ آخرِ با ليلا، غُرّيده باشد. يادم نيست بعدِ رفتنِ فائقه، چشم تيز كرده باشد. بُراق شد بر زن‌ها؟ از خواب با آن‌ها؟ ترديد دارم. مي‌افتم به پرسش‌هاي مكرر و دوردار. كُشتم چون نمك خورده بود و نمك‌دان شكسته بود؟ پستان گزيده بود؟ به من پريده بود يا به حميد؟! چنگ كشيده بود؟! زخم زده بود؟! چرا كشتم؟! نترسيدم؟ چرا ترسيدم. نه به اين خاطر كه چيزي بيش از پرندگي داشت يا اينكه مثلاً جن بود و شافي بود و مُنجي بود. نه! احمق نيستم. اما ترس چرا؛ دروغ نمي‌گويم؛ داشتم. واقعه را بو مي‌كشيد. انگار خطي، نشاني، رَدّي، از گذشته، آينده، ناغافل به مغزش مي‌رسيد و حس مي‌كرد. زمان فشرده مي‌‌شد، حيوان آن را مي‌ديد انگار. گاهي هم مي‌ديدي نشسته كُنجِ قفس، بي‌تكان و رام. انگار نه انگار، آن حيوانِ سابق است؛ تو گويي از گنجشك بي‌صداتر. اما با ننه هم‌داستان بودم. مي‌گفت، ولدالزنا، تخم شيطان است. سركش است. آدميت ندارد. راستي هم نداشت. گستاخ بود خيره‌سر؛ با چشماني نافذ كه تا عمق جانت را هراس مي‌داد. ها! به همين خاطر كشتم. مانده‌ام چرا بال بال نكرد دَمِ آخر؟ اگر مي‌دانست براي كشتن آمده‌ام، چرا چنگ‌مال نكرد؟ اين درست كه دست‌كش به دست داشتم (ضخيم بود و آخ نمي‌گفت پيش چنگال‌هاي ‌كشيده، منقارِ آب‌ديده نوك‌تيزِ حيوان)، اما تقلا چرا نكرد؟ اگر راست بود آنچه مي‌گفتند، چرا كاري نكرد؟! قوه‌اش چرا كارگر نشد؟!

شلنگ مي‌گيرم به باقيِ حيوان و مانده‌لاشه را هدايت مي‌كنم سمت چاه‌آب. از سوراخِ چاه بزرگ‌تر است. سيخ مي‌اندازم و فرو مي‌كنم برود داخل. دوست ندارم بماند. پاره‌هاي گوشت و پر، پايين مي‌روند و آب جمع مي‌شود سطحِ چاه‌آب. مي‌سوزاندم بهتر نبود؟ نمانَد دامن‌گير بشود؟ لحظه‌اي مي‌خندم از اين فكر و آني بعد، خشمگينم از اين فكر. كذبِ ماجرا خنده مي‌آوَرد و صدقش خشم. خشمم بيشتر مي‌شود. به هر حال، هر چه بود، خميره دروغ نبود. يك كلاغ چهل كلاغ كردند، اما اصل، درست بود. حمله به جابر راست بود. لُبِّ ماجرا همان بود. نه كه چنگال بكشد پَرِ كُت جابر را بدرد و سكه‌هاش را بيرون بريزد و منقار بزند؛ اين ترهات نه! اين‌ها نشد. اما به چشم ديدم كه پريد. چنان پريد اگر حميد نبود، بي‌چشم شده بود جابر؛ كور.

جابر كه آمد، قرقي نشسته بود و زير پرش را توك مي‌زد. يالله كه گفت و داخل شد، رام بود. شايد از قيمت پرسيدنِ جابر جِنّي شد. شايد هم غريبه‌گي كرد. به هر حال كه خان‌جابر تا چشمش افتاد به قرقي، گفت حاضر است سه قسطِ آخر را نديد بگيرد و قرقي را ببرد. من حاضر بودم اما حميد گفت بميرد قرقي را نمي‌دهد. گفت از زير سنگ شده جور مي‌كند. اين‌ها را آرام گفت، ننه نشنود. اما جابر كوتاه‌بيا نبود. باد انداخت زير گلو و داد زد كه پول علف خرس نيست و يامفت نيست خرجِ اَتِينا كند. حميد هنوز خوددار بود. گفت گرفته‌ايم، پس مي‌دهيم. گفت هوار كشيدن ندارد. گفت آبرو داريم. جابر اما پس نكشيد و همينجا بود كه يقين كردم قرضِ مانده را بهانه كرده. اصلاً قبلِ ديدنِ قرقي پول‌پول نمي‌كرد. آمده بود بيشتر براي سر زدن تا پس گرفتنِ پول. حالا چشمش افتاده بود به حيوان و چشمش را گرفته بود. شك ندارم جز اين نبود. كله كشيد رو به حميد و گفت يا قرقي، يا پول؛ همين حالا. گفت يتيم‌خانه بازنكرده! اينجا بود كه حميد به سرش زد و گفت گاله را درز بگيرد. مي‌دانم چرا گفت. روي بي‌پدري حَسّاس بود حميد. همه حَسّاس بوديم. رو به جابر گفت خفقان بگيرد واِلّا خودش گِل مي‌گيرد چالِ دهانش را. جابر اينجا پس كشيد. مي‌دانست خون اگر بدود به چشم حميد، شكمش را مي‌درد. مي‌دانست باك ندارد. كاردبه‌دستِ قهاري بود حميد و جابر اين را خوب مي‌دانست. عقب كشيد اما حميد سر دعوا داشت هنوز. تازه گرم شده بود انگار. گفت مي‌دهد ببرند آنجا كه عرب نِي انداخت مردكِ نسناس را. مردكِ مُفت‌خوارِ نزول‌خوار را. حرام‌خوار را. دست گذاشتم روي شانه‌ي جابر، گفتم بهتر است برود. تا شر به پا نشده برود، بهتر است. جابر برگشت و لُنديد و يك گام بيشتر برنداشته بود به سمت در كه حيوان امانش نداد. چنان جست زد و پر گرفت كه اگر ريسمان به پاش نبود و مي‌رسيد، جابر زير خاك بود حالا. پيشتر شنيده بودم از تُنديِ قرقي اما تا آن روز به چشم نديده بودم. تيز و باشتاب و عقاب‌وار پر گرفت به سمت شارگ جابر و... گفتم كه؛ اگر حميد عقل نكرده بود و حيوان را نبسته بود،‌ كارش زار بود و جايش، خاك. نرسيد به جابر اما تا وقتِ رفتنش جيغ جيغ مي‌كرد. پُف به كرك مي‌انداخت و چپ‌راست مي‌رفت و بال بال مي‌زد. وَبالِ جانش اصلاً همين شد. پُر شد بصيرت دارد. گفتند جابرِ نزول‌خوار را چنگ‌مال كرده. گفتند چشمش حق‌بين است و مرد از نامرد بازمي‌شناسد و چه و چه. از اين لاطائلات زياد گفته‌اند. چشم حق‌بين اگر داشت، چشم حميد را چرا درنياورد؟! نديد چه كلاهي مي‌بافد از اين نمد؟! كلاه‌برادريِ حميد را نديد؟ چشمِ كاردخورده‌اش نديد چه‌ها مي‌كند حميد؟ پرنده اين‌ها را نديد؟! صف درست كرده بود حميد، ‌طول‌ش ده خانه آن‌سوتر از خانه‌ي ما. كسب و كاري به راه انداخته بود بيا و ببين! من قپون‌دار، حميد دكان‌دار. گَلّه گَلّه مشتري مي‌آمد براي يك نظر ديدن قرقي. صف ‌كشيده بودند، ‌كشيدني! اولِ صف، نفر مي‌آمد چند لحظه‌اي مي‌ايستاد پيش روي قرقي. فرض اين بود پرنده جست و خيز كند، نفر بدذات و بي‌حياست و حرام‌خوار و حرام‌خَر و شَر؛ و اگر كِز كند، مُبَّرا و پاك و بي‌گُناه. خاك‌برسرها! قرقي حُكم مي‌كرد آدم‌اند يا حيوان!‌ خودشان نمي‌دانستند! نمي‌فهميدند! حيوان مَحَك مي‌زد حيوان‌اند يا انسان!  و در خَريّت جماعت، حميد خرسوار شد، من خربان. سرشان را كرديم به آخور، بار كشيديم. هر كدام هر طور ‌خواستيم. حميد دسته‌دارِ صفِ مردان شد، من صف‌دارِ دسته‌ي زنان. هر كسي به كارِ خود بود؛ حميد به پول‌ مشغول و من به .... كار به كار هم نداشتيم. مي‌نشستم به تماشا،‌ چشم‌چراني، هرزگي. دختر مي‌آوردند براي خواستگار كردن و نامزد براي عقد كردن و عروس  براي طلاق و جاري براي وفاق و... شيرِ مرغ تا جانِ آدمي‌زاد هم اگر مي‌خواستند، دكان‌مان داشت. هر چه دل‌شان مي‌خواست داشت. دوست داشتند داشته باشيم و خب ما داشتيم!

قرقي اوائل پُربيراه نمي‌گفت. پيشِ لش و لوش‌هاي شهر خوب شاخ و شانه مي‌كشيد. لابد چيزهايي مي‌ديد. اما گاهي هم سر مي‌انداخت پايين و كز مي‌كرد؛ جلو همان بي‌شرف‌هاي شهر. قاعده نداشت رفتار حيوان. چه تقصير داشت؟! قرقي، پرنده بود، حيوان بود، آدم كه نبود. پيغمبر كه نبود. و اين ما بوديم كه گوره‌خر رنگ كرده بوديم و طاووس جا زده بوديم و مُعجِز ساخته بوديم. از كَره اينطور آب گرفتيم ما. حق بدهيد سرش را زير آب كردم. حق بدهيد كارش را ساختم. جايي به خود آمدم ديدم كافرساز شده‌ايم نعوذبالله.

آب مي‌گيرم به كاشي‌هاي خون‌رنگ و خداوند را شاهد كه ببيند امروز كافركوب شده‌ام. الحمدالله. سر به سنگ كوفتم مار فتنه را. شُكر! اصلاً ماجراي من و قرقي را تو بگير عينِ موسا و سامري. تنها خداست كه مي‌داند چه كرده‌ام، چرا كردم. گوساله‌هاي گوساله‌پرست چنان صف مي‌كشيدند و التماس مي‌كردند و نِك و نال كه صف صراط است انگار. حميد هم افسار انداخت و پالان دوخت و سواري گرفت. 20 تومان داده بود بابت پرنده، 20 هزار تومان – باور كن – درآورد از قِبَلِ پرنده. خب البته كتمان نمي‌كنم هوشِ برادرم را. گفت وسط راسته‌ي «سداسمال» كه حيوان را ديده، چشمش را گرفته و خريدار شده. من اگر بودم، معلوم نبود بخرم اما حميد خريد و آورد خانه و بُرد كرد. بُرد كه مي‌گويم، زندان رفتنش را نديد بگير. چند صباحي، چند ماهي، نهايت، مي‌رود و برمي‌گردد و پول‌هايي را كه جاساز كرده برمي‌دارد و تخمش غم نيست. فقط نبودِ پرنده يحتمل غصه‌دارش خواهد كرد. كه چند صباحي دلتنگي مي‌كند و افسوس مي‌خورد و باز برمي‌گردد به قماشي كه سابق بر اين بود؛ الواط؛ لاط. از من بپرسيد حتا مي‌گويم انقدرها هم تيزي نداشت. اگر داشت، مي‌ديد كه قرقي گاهي مي‌زند به خال. نمي‌گويم هميشه، اما مي‌زد به خال گاهي. برق سكه‌ها كورش كرده بود. نمي‌ديد. قائله‌ي آخر را هم حواله كرد به فتنه‌ي محمودِ كفترباز. گفت شهر را او پُر كرده. گفت جماعت را او سرازير كرده. گفت چو محمود انداخته. گفت او موش دَوانده.

سيخ مي‌زنم به چاه، آب راه باز مي‌كند و پايين مي‌رود. شلنگ را مي‌اندازم و شير را مي‌بندم، مي‌روم مي‌نشينم روي سكو، كنار درگاهي. حالا جز پاره‌اي پوست و چنگال و منقار، چيزي نمانده ديگر از قرقي. محمود بفهمد، نذر مي‌دهد. چه خواب راحتي بكند بعدِ چند ماه! بروند پر بكشند كفترهاش كه راحت شدند از كابوس قرقي. نه اينكه ديده باشم كفتر شكار كند. دَله‌خوار نبود قرقي. منتها دله‌دزدي‌هاي حميد، پاي قرقي نوشته مي‌شد. دو سه باري سَرِ كفترهاي جلدِ بيچاره‌محمود را بُريد و كرد طعمه‌ي قرقي. مي‌گفت دلِ حيوان گوشت تازه مي‌خواهد. نخورَد، مي‌پَرَد مي‌رَوَد. محمود هم بو برد، عارض شد. اما حميد جَلَب‌تر بود. آژان كه سر رسيد، منقارِ حيوان را لِنت پيچيد و دورِ چشمش پارچه گرفت و بُرد پَل و پستويي پنهان كرد. مأمور آمد، گشت و نيافت و رفت. همينجا بود كه كينه گرفت محمود. همين‌هاست كه مي‌گويم حماقت داشت حميد. دو سه ماه از عيش و نوش‌مان نگذشته، يك صبح چشم باز كرديم ديديدم از تيردوقلو تا آب‌سردار چو افتاده قرقي شفا مي‌دهد. خدا به دور! محل شد امامزاده، خانه – بلاتشبيه - مدفن. پشت در را چهارقفله كرديم، تاب نياورد. گفتيم حالاست كه تَنگَش در برود، رفتيم و كمر داديم و سد شديم. من و حميد اين طرف دَر، سيلِ مرضاء، آن طرف؛ چلاغ‌ها براي پا گرفتن و گُنگ‌ها براي زبان گرفتن و كورها براي سو گرفتن لابد. محشرِ كبرا بود و دانستيم كار بالا گرفته. الله اكبر! فوج فوج آدمِ نصفه‌نيمه يادم هست موج مي‌خوردند روي هم و هو مي‌كشيدند. گفتيم چه كنيم‌؟ حميد گفت پر بدهيم حيوان را تا آژان‌ها نيامده‌اند. كه اگر مي‌آمدند هم براي خريد پرنده‌ي ممنوع جرم‌مان مي‌كردند هم به جرم راه انداختن اين قائله - شك نكن -‌ زندان مي‌بريدند. ناچار حيوان را پر داديم و تا قرقي رفت، آژان‌ها سر رسيدند و حميد را بردند. حالا من مانده‌ام و اين خانه، بي‌ننه. ننه همان روزِ اول رفت؛ همان روز كه صف درست كرديم و معركه گرفتيم. گفت معصيت دارد. عاقبت ندارد. عاق‌مان كرد، گفت مي‌رود تا توبه نكنيم برنمي‌گردد. من كه مي‌گويم فهميد حيوان شأني دارد، شمايلي مي‌بيند. پير بود اما كور كه نبود. كر كه نبود. نشنيد چطور سَرِ فرود آورده خاك‌پايِ سِد جوادِ پينه‌دور؟! مي‌گفتند پيرمرد نشسته بود داخل دكان، زيرِ پله، پرنده از دست حميد پر گرفته بود و رفته بود، سر فرود آورده بود به تعظيم؛ تو بگو سلام گفتن به لسانِ طيور في‌المثل. نشنیده بود؟! قطعِ به یقین شنیده بود. منتها مخالف بود با بودنِ حيوان. اصلاً سر به تنش نمی­خواست. می­گفت آزمونِ خداست. می­گفت آمده برای امتحانِ ما. بلاي ماست. و ما که افتادیم به فعلِ حرام، ننه رفت بَست نشست مِلكِ آبا اجدادي، گفت تا توبه نکنیم برنمی‌گردد. شايد هم قصه‌ي سِد جواد و قرقي، قصه‌ي خودساختِ حميد بود. از خودش درآورده بود تا به كار رونق بدهد. شايد. كسي چه مي‌داند؟

مي‌روم. مي‌روم زيرزمين، پِيِ پيتِ نفت. پام مي‌گيرد به گوشِ تشك و عن‌قريب است سرنگون شوم. لگد مي‌زنم به بالش؛ به بختم. جا به جا، تارموهای رنگِ شراب و زیتون ریخته روی بالش. جابه­جا تارهای بِلوند. خدا ببخشد! من چشم روی كار حميد بسته بودم، حميد بر اعمال من. خدا می­گذرد؟ زِنای مُحصِنه کردم. خدا می­بخشد؟

ننه كه رفت، خانه بي‌زن ماند. بوي نا گرفتيم. بي‌خوراك مانديم. من هم سر كيسه را تنگ كردم. گفتم قرقي مي‌خواهيد؟ شام! قرقي مي‌خواهيد؟ نهار! يك نظر ديدن پرنده؛ بشور! يك بار بال بالِ پرنده؛ بپز! و صفِ زنان به ولوله افتاد كه هاي! ما هستيم! من مي‌شورم! من مي‌‌پزم! جارو مي‌زنم! و وقتي ديدم پا مي‌دهند و پس نمي‌كشند گفتم بخواب!

مي‌نشينم روي تشكچه. پشیمانم. دست به چهره می­برم؛ نادم. فحش مي‌دهم به مردم، زن­ها، حمید، قرقی، شیطان. الاهی العَفو! العَفو! العَفو! العَفو! نه برای کشتن حیوان. برای خودمان. الاهی الغوث! الغوث! الغوث! دیو شدیم! یا ربِّ یا ربِّ یا ربِّ یا ربِّ... دم بگیر با من! با مِن معصيت‌كار بخوان! تو هيچ گناهي نداری؟! معصیت نکرده­ای؟! حرام نخورده‌ای؟! حرام نکرده‌اي؟!

گفتم خلوت با پرنده مي‌خواهيد، بايد خلوت بدهيد. دادند. گفتم اجابت اگر مي‌خواهيد، حاجت بدهيد. دادند. پرنده حاجت به آن‌ها مي‌داد، آن‌ها به من. آن‌ها دست به سر پرنده مي‌كشيدند، من دست به سر آن‌ها.

بد كردم؛ بد... اما به خداي لاشريك قسم، نه ذره‌اي پيش گفتم نه پس. جز آنچه ديده بودم نگفتم و جز آنچه شنيده بودم نياوردم. نگفتم حيوان، مُعجِز بود. اما نگفتم هم نبود. نگفتم يقين دارم اما نگفتم هم ندارم. فقط مي‌دانم اگر راست بود و حيوان همان بود كه مي‌نمود، واويلا بود. غُرّشش هنوز به گوشم است. معصيت كرده بودم و ديده بود و مي‌غريد. كشتم‌‌ تا چشم‌هام را بيرون نكشيده از چشم‌خانه. كشتم كه زنده بمانم. قاتل ديده‌ايد؟ مَن‌اَم. مغبون‌م به خاطر قتل حيوان. عذابِ وجدان مي‌كُشَد مرا. قرباني ديده‌ايد؟ مَن‌اَم. قاتلِ قرباني‌ام من؛ جانيِ كشته‌شده. خونش را به گردن گرفتم، قتل كردم؛ قاتل‌م از اين حيث. اما الي‌الابد نفرين شده‌ام به خوني كه ريختم از حيوان. قرباني شدم. باشد كه معصيت نكنيد، شَر نكنيد بعدِ من. آمين!

پیت را برمی­دارم، کشان­کشان، از پله­ها می­کشم بالا. از درگاهی می­کشم بالا. می­کشم می­آورم کنار لاشه­مانده، خم می­کنم، نفت شُرّه کند روی هر چه از قرقی مانده؛ روی پنجه و منقار. دست می­برم به جیب، کبریت می­کشم می­اندازم، گُر بگیرد، دود کند، نیست شود؛ برود همانجا که از آنجا آمده بود؛ به جهنم. زبانه می­کشد شعله، زبان می‌اندازد روی پنجه­ و منقار، می­بلعد. قرقی دود مي‌شود. آتش زبان به كام مي‌كشد.

می­روم شیرِ آب را باز می­کنم، شلنگ می­گیرم و خاکسترِ مانده را می­برم سمتِ چاه­آب. در می­زنند. مادربه‌خطا دوباره می­کوبد. مي‌روم این بار به باز كردنِ در و مُشت‌مال كردنِ هر كه پشتِ دَر است. مادرش را به عزاش مي‌نشانم؛ چه مرد باشد، چه زن، چه بچه، چه پیر. همه مقصرند. همه مقصریم.

آنطور که در را باز می­کنم و آنقدر که غیظ دارم، قادر عقب می­رود و کم مانده جعبه بیفتد از دستش. مرا كه مي‌بيند مِن مِن مي‌كند، فی­الفور جعبه را جلو می­گیرد، گز بردارم. مي‌گويد ساعتي پيش آمده بود، نبودم، رفته، باز آمده. تعارف­کنان می­گوید بردارم شیرین‌کام باشم. ساکتم هنوز. جعبه­گز را جلوتر می­آورد يعني که بردارم. برنمی­دارم. دَرِ جعبه را مي‌بندد و عذرخواهی می­کند، شرمنده، که بدموقع آمده است. می­گوید در عَوَض به شادی آمده است. خودش را ممنون­دارِ حمید می­داند؛ ممنون­دارِ من؛ مدیونِ قرقی. مي‌گويد هر چه دارد از حيوان دارد. مي‌گويد اگر نبود، مردانگي‌اش بر نمي‌گشت و عُذار پابه‌ماه نمي‌شد. سكوت مي‌كنم. از پرنده مي‌پرسد، مي‌گويم رفته. در رفته. آه مي‌كشد. جلو مي‌آيد به تعزيت، پس مي‌روم. چهره در هم مي‌كشم كه قالش را بكند، برود. مجالِ وِرّاجي نيست. مي‌فهمد. جعبه‌به‌دست خداحافظي مي‌كند، راهش را مي‌كشد، مي‌رود مردكِ ديوث!

در را مي‌بندم، تكيه مي‌دهم به در؛ به‌ پشت. نا ندارم. فرداروزي كه بچه‌ي عُذرا بيايد، چه مي‌داند پدرش كيست؟ چرا آمده؟ چيست؟ اين‌همه زهدان را تخم كاشته‌ام، از كجا بدانند از كجا بوده‌اند؟ از كجا عمل آمده‌اند؟ از كه بپرسند پشت‌شان كيست؟

تو هم‌خون من هستي؛ از رگِ من، ريشه‌ي من. حالا مي‌داني چرا كشتم؟ مي‌داني چرا به تو مي‌گويم؟ چه كسي را غيرِ تو را دارم بگويم؟ به كه بگويم از تو نزديك‌تر، عزيزتر؟ تو فرزند مني. شما فرزندان من‌ايد. دختران من‌ايد؛ پسران من. نطفه‌تان بسته شده شبي، كنار غرش قرقي. روزي، براي نوازش قرقي. مادرت ليلا نيست؟ گيسو نيست؟ طاهره نيست؟ شرم نكن. من مثل تو هستم، تو مثل من. مگر خودِ من كيستم؟ حرامزاده نيستم؟ تو از من آمده‌اي كه نمي‌شناسي، من از پدرم كه نشناختم، پدرم از پدرش كه نمي‌شناخت و پدرِ پدرم از پدرِ پدرش كه... اين شَرّ از كجا آمد پاگير شد، نمي‌رود، راه بازگشت ندارد؟ تا كجا ادامه خواهد داشت؟ به شما خَتم خواهد شد؟ پايان كار، شما خواهيد بود؟ خدا كند اينطور باشد، تمام شود اين بازيِ بي‌پايان. گرفتم، چشم‌هاش را پارچه‌پيچ كردم، منقارش را لِنت‌پيچ. كت‌بسته انداختم حظ ببرند گربه‌ها. حرام‌زاده‌ها را ببين! ببين چه مي‌كنند! كفتار شده‌اند انگار. دوره‌اش مي‌كنند و خرناس مي‌كشند و پنجه مي‌اندازند اما زَهره ندارند. هنوز خوف دارند. باور ندارند كَت‌‌بسته باشد، منقاربسته، چشم‌بسته. حيوان به تقلا افتاده، خفه، جيغ جيغ مي‌كند. و مانده‌ام به ختم كار كه در مي‌زنند....




Yasser NorouziYasser Norouzi

Born in 1980, Yasser Norouzi started his career as a journalist and writer in 2004. His articles and essays have regularly appeared in major newspapers and magazines and his short stories have been featured in various literary journals. He is also the editor and producer of several radio programs on literature. His first novel, Na-Mahram, published in 2012, was among the bestsellers at Tehran’s annual book fair and was reprinted three times that year.

Translated from PersianPersian by Sara KhaliliSara Khalili

Sara Khalili is an editor and translator of contemporary Iranian literature. Her translations include Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour, The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee, Kissing the Sword: A Prison Memoir by Shahrnush Parsipur, and the forthcoming Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons by Goli Taraghi. She has also translated several volumes of poetry by Forough Farrokhzad, Simin Behbahani, Siavash Kasraii, and Fereydoon Moshiri. Her translations of Mandanipour’s short stories have appeared in the Literary Review, the Kenyon Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, EPOCH, Words without Borders, and PEN America.