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war nights

July 11, 2012

by Farideh Hassanzadeh-Mostafavi

I feel night by night more real
and old

so old and real that in the mirror
I see nothing anymore
but a range of empty chairs.

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Farideh Hassanzadeh-Mostafavi writes, “It was wartime between Iran and Iraq. One night, as every night, the bombs began to fall, and this time they destroyed an elementary school. It was very close to our home. When we went to see what happened, we saw empty chairs fallen on the ground like dead children. They were surrounded by pieces of broken windows, doors, and ceiling.

“Since that night, whenever I look into the mirror, I can see nothing but a range of empty chairs. I wrote the above as a fragment in my notebook. Many years later, I used it in a poem about war.”

  1. July 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    O, spine-tingling
    and beautiful

  2. Katherine
    July 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Starkly beautiful.

  3. July 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    lovely and heartbreaking at the same time. love the brevity.

  4. July 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Line by line, dear Farideh – more and more real and more haunting. Such very fine work. Thank you,

  5. Barbara LaMorticella
    December 29, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Oh God, this is so beautiful. And it’s very valuable to see both the poem and the fragment.

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