by Mohammad Zaki Zaki

When the young women were told
Of the Taliban’s new rule
Some started crying
Some shouted in anger
Cursed the Taliban
Some just said their last goodbyes
To their friends
Before walking away

They message me every day
Ask again and again to open the doors
But I can’t help them
I can’t even offer hope
I pray to God to help them be
Released from this prison

We are all in a cage that is
I hope one day our dreams come true
To have mixed classes
To have liberty
To speak independently
To have freedom of speech
To see smiles on everyone’s faces
To see happy parents again
To be rescued from this jail



By Shaaban Karamdokht
Translated by Asadullah Jafari “Pezhman”

In the form of your sojourn that flows to every bound
The sound of your blood is flowing in the bed of time
You are Hazara; you are the heir of this historical land
What happened to you? In your song, your cry is flowing

Thousands of times your heart poured out an inscription on the soil
Your tired voice is flowing to the stars
What pains are sitting on your heart and soul?
What wounds are visible, flowing in your mirror?

You are the proud Hazaras of the times
Although the pain is still running through your heart
The glory of your name will last forever
Your blood is flowing drop by drop

Stay with the homeland, with other Hazaras
The secret of patriotism flows in your voice.



by nematullah ahangosh

An Afghan Refugee Camp Summer 2020

most stories end up beautiful

only some end so awful

like when the bullets,

pregnant as almonds,

fast as fear

pierce like glass

the skins on streets of Kabul

beautiful stories?

i don’t even know what that is

you mean flowers of war?

oh? i know those!

they are survivors

like sheep grazing on the fields of others

with trembling legs

fearing the field owners will arrive

and chase them like wolves