Bänoo Zan

Iran (1)

I am forced—

stripped down
to a handful of dust

The waves of my hair

hands and feet
tied down
to procrustean
borders of subjection

my vagina bleeding
in explosions of testosterone

I am the witness
to my archetypal nightmare

My sons lusting after me
in incestuous copulations of power

My daughters offering me
to rapists
as their scapegoat

I am alluring to invaders
who demand
a fake orgasmic pleasure
in denial of pain—

a prostitute smile
I cannot afford

thirsting after my dark juices
to keep their industrious
phalluses going

No-one hears me
in the middle of
the gang-rape

And when mock-trials
are staged
I am called to testify
against myself:

I am a terrorist—
to colonialists—
I terrify ugliness
by my independent beauty

Accused of profanity—
I dance lifeless
hanging from sacred gallows

Like Tahmina.................................... (2)
I have bedded “heroes”
who have slain the young

Like Jocasta
I have bedded “heroes”
who have slain the old

And this is not
my first time:

I am the woman
with a history

who stand in line
waiting for your turn:

cannot maintain
that erection

(1) Iran, is not only the name of the country, but also a feminine first name in Iran.
(2) In the Persian epic, The Shahnameh, Tahmina is the wife to Rostam, the epic hero who leaves her not knowing she is pregnant. Their son, Sohrab, gets killed by his renowned father while he is on a quest to find him.

Bänoo Zan landed in Canada in 2010. In her country of origin (Iran) she taught English literature at universities. She has been writing poetry since the age of ten, and has published poetry, criticism, biography, translations and a book , The Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, reprinted in 2010. She writes in Persian and English.

(author retains copyright)