A mullah censor says that the body parts of women
Must be omitted from couplets of my book
Like this couplet which I heard
Fifty years ago in the village of Pudeh:
“From the hillside there comes a group of girls
All with white breasts like doves.
May God not bless their mother
Who did not let me kiss their lips.”
My publisher does not know whether to laugh or cry.
So he replaces “breasts” and “lips”
With dot dot dot.
But the mullah censor does not accept the dots
Because they are the signs of empty places.
Suddenly, I remember Ezzat
Who was shot in Evin Prison
And buried in the Cemetery of the Infidels
In a mass grave without any gravestones.
No! No! My dear publisher!
Do not cover this empty place,
Let the dots remain
Otherwise, no one will know tomorrow
That in my book
Love has been torn
Majid Naficy is a Persian-American poet living in Los Angeles. His books include Father & Son (Red Hen, 2003).
It is only in the last ten years that I have taught myself to say “fuck,” but when I wrote a poem about my father’s infidelity, what else could I do? Yet, recently when I used it in a tiny book of poems about bugs I wrote with friends, I asked to substitute another word in one home-made copy just for my granddaughter who is the child of my minister son. What else could I do? Thank you for this beautiful poem.
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