Written by Hafez Moosavi 
Translated by Hamed Abdi
Illustrated by Parastou Haghi
Read by Evan Bryson 

Published 6/4/2012

Art by Parastou Haghi


Now imagine: this is Baghdad
and this is a slender brook of blood
running from this temple of mine
to the white skirt of yours and      onto this soil

Now imagine: I have stretched a hand
so your hair
I remove it from the barbed wire

Now imagine all of this is possible
and you are resting your head here
upon this bosom
beneath this other temple that is not wounded
then for an instant you turn your eyes
towards the Tigris       and count:
One . . . two . . . three . . . ten
Boom . . . Bomb . . . Boom . . . Bomb
Then my fingers
you pick them up from the ground
Eleven . . . twelve . . .
And then you’d wish that I’d kiss you
How on earth can I ask then, “Where are my lips?!”


Listen to this poem:

Born in 1955, in Roodbar, Iran, Hafez Moosavi is a prominent figure in contemporary Iranian poetry who has published five books of poetry. In 2002, he cofounded Ahang-e Digar, widely known as the most important publication specialized in contemporary Iranian poetry. He was founder and editor of the first online poetry magazine in Iran,Vazna. He is also a critic and teaches poetry workshops. (Updated June 2012)

Born in 1986, in Rasht, Iran, Parastou Haghi is a painter, illustrator and member of the Association of Illustrators of Quebec. She graduated from Tehran University in painting. She was chosen as the runner up at the 16th Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations in 2008 and her work was selected for the International competition of graphic design, Venice, Italy, 2010. She presently works as an illustrator and studies Art and Media in Canada. Her works of illustrations have appeared in numerous books and magazines in Iran and France. Her weblog could be reached at http://parastouhaghi.blogspot.ca(Updated May 2012)


Composing under the nom de plume “Satah...,” Hamed Abdi is a linguist-translator academician now based in Dubai who has created an imaginary haven, “Dotland,” in his mind to creep into and away from the routines of the hectic 21st century. There at Dotland, poetry abounds and poets from all times and tongues get together to share their refined views of the fine prints in life. This is how he describes self in a minimal poem dubbed “SUBSTITUTION DRILL: Subject Pronoun.”

...I’m not the first n won’t be the last
The stage of life has an endless cast...

(Updated May 2012)

Evan Bryson is a writer from Indiana. He is currently editing the documentary A Kiln Film. (Updated Jun. 2012)

This poem was originally published in Farsi, in:
Mousavi, Hafez. Bric-a-Brac of Memories and Poems from the Middle East [Khorde-rize khatereha va she'rhaye khavare miyaneh]. Tehran, Ahang-e Digar, 2009.