Men of my country!
Fathers, brothers, husbands!
What can I write about you?
I am restless, impatient, tired
From telling my story and yours
Men! Throw away your knives
Don’t give me more scars
I am not among the devastated Afghan women
I don’t want my head covered by your cruelty
I live beside you — yet how far we are from one another
Hide your knife — I am afraid
Let me show you my golden heart.

Covered in my burqa, you make the world blind to me
In front of you, I am a woman, your slave, a tired face of fear
What do I mean to you?
I know the answer: A victim of tolerance, a friend of silence
Don’t make me known by your violence
I am not a picture of punishment
Never deceive me with your kindness
I am not a stone
I own my life, my soul, my body
I am empty of the love you took from me
I am still strong, a lonely mountain
I carry my pen, my pride.

By Pari

Photo by Pierre Lindenbaum