A poem by Zahra Wakilzada

I hold your hand
And trace the burns on your fingers.
I grab your other hand,
And put it over my heart.

As you feel my heartbeat,
I sob like a baby.
Your burned fingers moved slightly
And wipe off my tears.

How does it not hurt?
My heart aches every time I see the redness,
And you say, “It is okay!” with a smile.
Let me trace the burns again.

No one will ever see your pain
Through your smile.
Your eyes are no longer shining
When you smile.

Your hair is no longer dark black
And your hands are no longer soft.
No one will ever understand why?
No one will try to understand why?

No one will ever understand
Your struggle of living in an unfamiliar land.
No one will ever understand
Your love for your motherland.

They might ask you and as you speak
One will pretend to understand
And another will ask you to repeat
Because your accent is not “American” enough.

Mom, let me trace the burns on your fingers
And put my hand on your heart.
I want to trace the broken pieces of your heart
As I run my fingers through your gray hair and breakdown.

About the Author: Zahra Wakilzada is a human rights activist and a public speaker. She is currently a first-year student at Georgetown University planning to major in Government. She is an aspiring writer and poet who first began to publish her work at the age of 14. Zahra strongly believes that writing is resistance and can bring change.

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