Poems on Politics

Words To Die For

I read that the Russian poet
Osip Mandelstam was ordered killed
because he’d likened Stalin’s mustache
to a cockroach.

And I heard that Moosa, my father’s cousin,
was executed because he’d sworn
loud enough for the guards to hear
that His Holiness, the Imam
was fathered by a dog
and mothered by a whore.

And I met a woman
who was half crazy.
She’d visited her two daughters in prison
once a month for ten years
and brought them care-packages
of birth control pills.
She said: Their faces were yellow like turmeric.
It was all in their eyes.

In my mother- tongue we say
that a desired woman’s body
is like peeled peaches,
that she walks like a drunk peacock
and sees with her deer eyes.
we say that a child’s body is as pure
as her mother’s milk.

Where I come from
these days they don’t execute
the virgins.
First they rape them
and then
they shoot them.

Esther Kamkar, Palo Alto, California artist and poet. Poems, poetry, writing, published works - footer logo

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