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I ask you to bring a lamp and a window
when you come.
Please do not forget them.
I am here sitting in the dark
repeating the same thoughts in my head
over and over again.
My tasbeeh is broken
and I have no more string.
Taller than the elegant pines in Eram
and softer than their shade,
I know you will come
walking long strides across the garden.
One day, you will appear at the door
you will have travelled the world
and you will carry its scent.
Your knock will bring the echo of drums
and you will have multi-coloured dolls in your bags.
The dust on your shoulders will be golden like the deserts you have crossed,
the beads of sweat on your forehead like the rain upon the Ganga.
Your eyes will be bright from seeing the smiles of children
and your feet will be tired, tired from crossing the Hindu-Kush.
You will enter like the wind
like the harmatan, the chamalee and the khamseen all put together
and like a cool breeze on a spring’s night as well.
You will appear in silence
the one you picked up in Ryoan-ji.
And you will sweep away all my worries
and bring me the light,
not the light that hides in the mihrab
nor the one where the moth threw itself.
It will be the tender light of love
and you will be holding it in the palm of your hand
like those saints in Byzantine icons.
So please come,
and do not forget the lamp and the window
so that from my threadbare carpet
I may finally get up.
Dedicated to Forugh Farrokhzad (Iran, 1935-1967) a poet of extraordinary talents who challenged many stereotypes about women in Iran and beyond. Lyrical, honest and daring, her work is placed in par with the greatest poets of the Persian language. I read her work regularly and she is one of my inspirations – Kenza Saadi
Kenza Saadi holds a BA from Cornell University and a PhD from Columbia University. Among other activities, she worked in the humanitarian field in war zones. She now lectures on ethics and publishes poetry.