Take a ticket, the prescription, and a handful of torn money,
stand at the end of the queue on Saturdays, take a number.
Tayyebah’s unwell again—you’ve got to make a phone call
and negotiate a day off from the office.
No matter what she sees in her random way, be patient:
pull the moon or a star out of her sleeve.
Shopping isn’t bad, all the colors make her happy;
buy her some clothes, bangles, shoes, and earrings.
Don’t let your focus stray from the hunt for a bird or a stone,
and tell Tayyebah to stay away from people.
If the shrink has no time to see you again,
take those two suspicious little pills again.
No! Take her to the cinema, or head for the hills,
just don’t give in to the pressures of the world.
And then, if all else fails, ask the Holy Book—
Will my sister get better? Do a divination . . .

Take a ticket, the prescription, and a handful of torn money,
stand at the front of the queue on Saturdays, take a number.

    Mashhad, Iran, 2007


بليط، نسخه و يك مشت پول پاره بگير

بايست آخر صف ، شنبه ها شماره بگير

دوباره" طيبه" حالش بد است زنگ بزن

مرخصي خودت را از آن اداره بگير

به شكل پرت و پلا هرچه ديد حوصله كن

از آستين خودش ماه يا ستاره بگير

خريد چيز بدي نيست رنگ دلخوشي اش

لباس، كفش، النگو و گوشواره بگير

حواستان نرود از پي پرنده و سنگ

بگو به" طيبه "از مردمان كناره بگير

اگر كه دكتر اعصاب باز وقت نداشت

دو قرص كوچك مشكوك را دوباره بگير

نه! سينما ببرش يا بزن به كوه و كمر

فشارهاي جهان را تو هيچ كاره بگير

از اين كتاب مقدس بپرس خواهر من

دوباره خوب شود يا نه؟! استخاره بگير

بليط، نسخه و يك مشت پول پاره بگير

بايست اول صف، شنبه ها شماره بگير





Zahra HosseinzadehZahra Hosseinzadeh

Zahra Hosseinzadeh was born in 1979 in Lal in Ghor Province, Afghanistan. She became a refugee before she learned to speak and now lives in Mashhad, Iran. She has a B.A. in Theology and is a member of the editorial committee of Khatt-e Sevvom and an active member of the Dorr-e Dari Cultural Centre. For many years she has been a teacher of Persian language and literature and religion in autonomous refugee schools and religious schools. Her poetry collection, Name-i az Lale-ye Kuhi [Letter from a Mountain Tulip’] has reached its second printing, and she has two more collections ready for publication. 

Translated from DariDari by Zuzanna OlszewskaZuzanna Olszewska

Zuzanna Olszewska is a junior research fellow in Oriental Studies at St. John’s College, Oxford, working on the ethnography and literary and intellectual history of Iran and Afghanistan. She recently completed a doctoral thesis in Social Anthropology at Oxford University, titled Poetry and its Social Contexts among Afghan Refugees in Iran, which received a Dissertation Award from the Foundation for Iranian Studies. Her translations of Afghan Persian poetry have appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines, including Modern Poetry in Translation, and she is preparing an anthology of Afghan poetry.