Illustration: Ansellia Kulikku.

Oh, uncles,
what zealous men you are!
Sister ran away with her lover so
your hounds scoured the hills
and how young and fresh her bones were.
Eve kissed the desert scrub
before the land washed its hands of you
and I, from a small window, smiled
at the children’s feet ricocheting over the ground
and the women, before their breasts ran dry,
trickled drops of their pitiful milk
into the throats of blond soldiers

and the virgin kissed her lover
before father claps his hands
and we pack our clothes
for somewhere my brothers
can fall in love again,
somewhere our river is a sea—
if father forgives his brothers
and the unforgivable land
let us love,
my sisters,
the highlands
…its lover.

Winter 2008


Farzana Marie

Farzana Marie is a poet and Ph.D. at the University of Arizona's School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, where she focuses on Persian Literature, with a minor in Creative Writing. She holds a B.S. in Humanities from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an M.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Farzana’s poetry and translations have appeared in print and on-line journals. She served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force for over six years, including two consecutive years deployed in Afghanistan, where she also served as a civilian volunteer at a Kabul orphanage in 2003-2004. She is the author of a collection of Persian Dari poetry in translation, Load Poems Like Guns: Women’s Poetry from Herat, Afghanistan (Holy Cow! Press, 2015); a poetry chapbook, Letters to War and Lethe (Finishing Line Press, 2014); and a nonfiction book, Hearts for Sale! A Buyer's Guide to Winning in Afghanistan (Worldwide Writings, 2013). She had a stroke on the 29th of August, 2015 in Kabul, Afghanistan and is gradually rebuilding her use of words.

Fatema Roshan

Fatema Roshan, a thirty-two-year-old Afghan writer and poet, resides in Kabul, Afghanistan. With a background in Natural Resources, she now works in the field, but her passion lies in reading and writing literature. Fatema changed her writing style after several years, when she realized she was not addressing inner concerns. In 2016, she published a collection of short stories, titled Fierce Anger or Anger of the Wilderness, in collaboration with the Kabul Information Center. The Kinowa Perfume is the only collection that includes her new poems. According to critics, she is a promising and unique author from her generation. She has been a successful writer and will continue to grow as she explores different styles of poetry.