A poem by Mahnaz Rezaie

Photo by the author

War is like a cruel thunderstorm
Plucking the roots of trees and families
Taking away Afghan men
Leaving women alone
Widowed, shocked
With tears in their eyes,
Sharp knots in their throats

Abruptly, their world darkened
They lost their sun
The kind hands that caressed them
And embraced their children
Without husbands
Women were without imams
No guides, no soldiers
They lost their shield
Vulnerable to harsh life
And people’s talk

The day she was widowed
The sky became a steel net
Crushed over an Afghan woman’s head
The world was like a mouth
Chewing her to bits
Spitting her out
The house, a black sea
Danced devil waves in front of her eyes

She damned her destiny and cried to god
Who were those cruel human sharks?
Those who attacked her husband
“What is this fate?”
“Why I am so unfortunate?”
She pleaded to strangers
And sobbed
With pain digging in her heart

With her husband gone
And mouths to feed
She was forced to beg
To break her dignity
Who would hire a widow?
What should she do?

The wolves of society
Have filthy eyes that spark
When they see a widow
An unsupported woman
She cursed that day
The damn day she became a widow

Years have gone by
And still her eyes are locked on the door
Searching for her handsome sun to rise
Unconsciously waiting for his presence
His warmth in the house
His echo of laughter in the room
And every night she goes to sleep
With an empty heart
Widowhood not her fault
She, cursing the war
And her unjust society
For snatching her rights
And her husband
Protector, her lover
For leaving her alone

About the author: Mahnaz Rezaie is a freelance visual producer and writer located in Haymarket, VA. Her short film, Wearing Scarf, was featured on MUSLIMA online exhibition and 2014 Women in the World Summit. She graduated with a master’s degree in New Media Photojournalism from Corcoran School of Art and Design of GWU in 2016. After graduation, she interned with the Washington Post for four months. In addition, she has worked as a Dari Executive Mentor for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project and as a digital curator for the OF NOTE online magazine, selecting artists and curating photographs for the Burqa issue of this magazine. Mahnaz currently also works on her novel and independent visual projects. You can check out her work at www.mahnazrezaie.com

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart

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