Anthony A. Lee

Where is Neda?

Telephone images
jerk on my TV screen.
Crowds in the streets.
I push as hard as I can
but can’t come close.
Boys throwing rocks at men
in uniform, guns raised and cocked.
Boys in face masks.
Girls in scarves
hand them their stones.

There is blood.
The doctor’s hands can’t stop it.
He boards a plane the next day.
I am too far away and feel nothing.
All men are born as my brothers.
They are young.
They will grow bigger.
All women my sisters—
my lovers—and the men.

At night on the roof
a woman cries,
shrill, clear, angry:
Allah-u Akbar!
to begin the night chorus.
There are more dark rooftops.
God is Great!

I hear the human voices.
Is this prayer?
A deep voice asks
Neda koja’st? ...
A question?
Neda koja’st? is the answer.
Where is Neda?
Where is my sister?

Neda-jan, where are you?

Anthony A. Lee, Ph.D. teaches African American history (and other subjects) at UCLA. His poems have been published in ONTHEBUS, The Homestead Review, Arts Dialogue, Warpland, and the 2003 anthology of the Valley Contemporary Poets (Sherman Oaks, CA). He is the winner of the Nat Turner Poetry Prize for 2003 (Cross Keys Press). His first book of poems, This Poem Means, was the winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award for 2005 (Lotus Press). Some of his translations have been published in Táhirih: A Portrait in Poetry: Selected Poems of Qurratu’l-‘Ayn (Kalimát Press, 2004).

(author retains copyright)