The sewing machine’s quiet hum
was my mother’s sad song.
At my father’s stall
it was her peasant trousers
that could send me to school
answer the landlord
and buy medicine.
My sister Marzieh, whose illness nobody understands,
and cannot be cured even in the shrine,
coughs continuously
like the sewing machine’s needle
and the softness of her bones
only feeds the earth’s lust.
Mother is the needle’s thread:
with Marzieh’s every cough,
with every breath her heartstrings rend.
Father doesn’t close his stall even in the rain
and I, in a place where nobody goes,
talk to myself.
The clever people in the newspapers
write articles about us,
while my countrymen
have forgotten the pleasures of the spring festival of Mazar.
Mother is the sewing machine’s foot at night:
she trembles.
Father is the doorframe
closed into himself.
A pot of bitter tea;
in the photo album Marzieh gently laughs
and I think about everything.

 صدای خاموش چرخ خیاطی

آوازهای غمگین مادرم بود

که در بساط پدر

شلوار کردی هایش

می توانست مرا به مدرسه بفرستد

جواب صاحبخانه را بدهد

و دارو بخرد

مرضیه خواهرم که مریضیش را هیچ کس نمی فهمد

و حتی در حرم شفایش نمی دهند

مثل سوزن چرخ خیاطی یکریز سرفه می کند

نرمی استخوان های کوچکش

شهوت خاک را بیشتر کرده است

مادر نخ سوزنی است که با سرفه های مرضیه

هر دم بند دلش پاره می شود

پدر در باران بساطش را جمع نمی کند

و من در جایی که کسی نباشد

با خودم حرف می زنم

روشنفکران در روزنامه ها

مقاله های مرا می نویسند


در حالی که هموطنانم

لذت جشن گل سرخ را فراموش کرده اند

مادر، شبانه ها پایه های چرخ خیاطی است

                                                 می لرزد

پدر، چهارچوب در است

در خود بسته

یک قوری چای تلخ

مرضیه در آلبوم عکس آرام می خندد

من به همه چیز فکر می کنم

Aman MirzaiAman Mirzai

Aman Mirzai was born in Mashhad, Iran, in 1985, to a family of refugees from Mazar-e Sharif in Afghanistan. He has been writing poetry for seven years, and has won awards in many nationwide poetry competitions in Iran. He has published one collection of poetry, Giah-e Sukhte [The Burnt Plant]. He is currently a student of public relations in Mashhad, and an active member of the Dorr-e Dari Cultural Center, the foremost literary organization among Afghan refugees in Mashhad.

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.