parrot in chains

Editor’s note: The author wrote this poem on the eve of the April 5 Afghan presidential election.

I am afraid of the darkness—
the silence
I fear being forced indoors again,
like Taliban
where I’d stay at home
because I am a girl, a Sia Sar.

I fear they will break the lamp
that brought me knowledge,
the lamp I light to reform my homeland,
the one shining on my whole life.

I fear they will remove the emblem—where
the cries of Afghan women are written
Not just mine, but the ululations of
all the indignant mothers who
cannot raise their voice for fear of losing their
tongue—cut by an ignoble knife
and left lying on the ground.

I fear the return of the Taliban regime.
Those who would confine me like a jailed bird
in a dark, narrow prison by the name of

With one hand I want to hold the lamp of literacy,
and with my other, I want to carry a placard,
and march in protest. I will shout
Stop violence against women!
I can show the world what powerful women we are!

But I am afraid. I fear the return of the darkness.

By Nilofar

Photo by kreep