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from the January 2020 issue

[I needed to wake up at 3:00 in the morning to make it to work]

[Divê saet 3.00 yê ber destê sibê şiyar bibim û biçim kar jî.]

In two poems, Ciwan Qado reflects on relentless poverty and longs for relief from the worries of adult life.


​I needed to wake up at 3:00 in the morning to make it to work
I said to myself, you can't go to work—you haven’t slept
Either sleep and don’t go to work
Or don't sleep but still don’t go to work.
I proceeded with caution
Like a marble inching toward the line
I opened my eyes.
The rain drizzled down.
Inside my head, a sound like banging the bowels of a cauldron
A chorus chanting the latest work anthem
My father's callused hands were my quilt.
I received a letter telling me, "You are a child!”
Is this accolade or insult?
I wish I were a child!
And could listen to the crickets chirp
From the foreskin Mohammed severed
And could wet my bed
And raise the soiled sheet as my homeland’s flag!

 

[My head was near the door.]

My head was near the door.
It was likely nearer to the door than the door itself.
It was as empty as the jerry can.
I owed 2,000 liras in rent for the house
And I had nothing but 12 fennel seeds, the remainder of my breakfast.
The landlord was washing dishes.
The windows of the door were broken.
The feet walking toward the door were broken.
And the mouths that should have given thanks and apologized were broken.
I had nothing but 12 fennel seeds, the remainder of my breakfast.


© Ciwan Qado. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by David Shook and Zêdan Xelef. All rights reserved.

[Divê saet 3.00 yê ber destê sibê şiyar bibim û biçim kar jî.]

Divê saet 3.00 yê ber destê sibê şiyar bibim û biçim kar jî.
min ji xwe re got ma çê nabe tu ranezê û here kar
an razê û yekcar nere kar
an jî ne razê û ne jî here kar
ev a dawî kete serê min
wek xarekê berû xêzê de bigindire.
min çavên xwe vekirin.
çip çipa baranê bû.
hinekan bi çakûçan di hundirê disteke mezin de di orta serê min de lêdixistin.
sirûda kar a nûjen şayik dikirin.
destên bavê min î zivrî henûn lihêfa min bû.
nameyek ji min re hatibû tê de danînî bû ku ez zarok im .
nizanim ev pesin e an serhavde ye?
xweska zarok bama
û li ber dengê çirçirkan
di çermê ku mihemed bi destê xwe carekê jê kiribû
bi ser livînê xwe de min bimîztana, û bela çerçefa ku min bi ser de bimîztana
ala welatê min bana.

 

[Serê min nêzîkî derî bû.]

Serê min nêzîkî derî bû.
dibe ji derî jî nêzîktir bû.
ew û depoya mazotê wek hev vala bûn.
200 hezar kirêya malê ji min dihate xwestin, û ji pêvî 12 libên reşreşkên ku ji ber penêrê taştê
ma bûn tiştek li ba min tune bû.
xwedîyê malê sênîk dişuştin.
camên derî şikestî bûn.
nigên ku berû derî ve biçin şikestî bûn .
û devên ku diva bû spasdarî û lêborînê jî bixwazin şikestî bûn.
ji pêvî 12 libên reşreşkên ku ji ber penêrê taştê ma bûn tiştek li ba min tune bû.

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