For Afghan Mother’s Day, June 14
A mother, I live in Afghanistan.
There is no safety here, no feeling
for humanity, no feeling for a logical life,
no understanding for women.
Does the 8th of March do anything for me
and for mothers like me?
A teenager, I thought I had a green life ahead.
But when I became a mother, I lost my life partner to war.
That day, a cold snow spread all over my body.
At twenty-five, my thick, dark hair became white,
like snow, like the long dress of a bride.
Time passed full of hardness, each day, colder, colder still.
I could hear the words of my dead love though,
I am gone, he said. I know your wings have been broken,
but you have to be alive. He reminded me of the heat
in my body—my unborn son. Take care of him, he said.
Now my son is a soldier.
He tries to defend our motherland. Our enemies
don’t want us to have a strong army to keep us secure.
They want us to live with no identity.
We witness the death of our soldiers in every village,
every province, every day. In Kunar Ghazi Abad, twenty mothers
lose their cherished sons. Army uniforms become threads
of mourning—white cloth, like snow, snow that covers every mother.
Snow comes, permeates our families, our hearts,
alights on our destroyed walls and windows.
And with the deepest feeling, I and others, know
these coldest of snows, because I am a poor Afghan mother
My body is bowed, my heart cold with anger, my hair, still white.
I will never forgive those who forget me, and mothers like me.
I will never forgive those who want more for themselves, who
take our rights to make deals.
I will never forgive those who don’t believe in our right to a good, safe life.
I will never forgive those who are supposed to lead, but forget us.
I will never forgive those who don’t care about our lives, who deal
in the commodity of our lives, kill our sons.
I will never forgive those who call our sons’ killers “brother.”
I don’t have a big heart like Nelson Mandela. I am a simple Afghan woman
with white patience, like snow. I, and mothers like me, still wait—
for the green life ahead.
By Mina T.
Photo by Paretz Partensky