Skip to content
Give readers a window on the world. Click to donate.
from the January 2014 issue

If You See Fatima

Translators’ note: Maria was the name of a girl murdered in an honor killing in Sweden; Fatima Shahindal was killed for the same reason a few years before Maria.

If you see Fatima, tell her
They are still here, the women-killers, still here with knives,
Tell her still
This darkness, this killing devours us, all our seasons.
Tell Fatima
This atmosphere changes from one song to another,
One sea flies to another,
One garden gives rain to another.

Every twilight, a door will open for new love
And every evening, we will light a candle for
The innocent woman.  Every 8th of March,
We will dress in the clothing of fairness.  Tell her, to Fatima
Say, after her death, we lit our epic poems on fire,
We pounded on the gates of our books,
We filled the vessel of our imagination with
Before the many mirrors of speech, we spit
On our dishonored image.
Tell her, with fury, to Fatima say,
After her death, what didn’t we do.
Yet still the women-killers with knives and daggers of
Are here . . . at the door to our homes
They wait.  Maria,
I gave my own heart one night to God
So that you would not disappear
I presented my own head, like a flower,
To the river of an epic poem, full of life
So that you would not return to the tents of Adam.

Now we, in any way that appears,
With our honor, we will be recognized.
If we run to the lovers’ refuge,
The lovers will cry out:
They are coming . . . they are coming . . . the tribe of honor is coming.
Take up your flowers.
Go inside . . . bar the doors and the windows.
The knife is coming . . . the dagger is coming . . .honor is coming.
Go inside.
Don’t open the door, even for the clouds.
Don’t open the window, even for the rain.
Daggers are falling like rain, honor has begun to storm,
Don’t open the sky, even for God . . . go inside.

© Jamal Khambar. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2014 by Marie LaBrosse and Soran Azad. All rights reserved.

Read more from the January 2014 issue
Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.