Mother Afghanistan

For the people of Afghanistan and for my mother Masoumeh Mazaheri of Babol, Iran

Mother died
and Afghanistan is falling—

Not that mother followed the world any more
The Alzheimer’s washed her clean of conflicts

She could not remember her name
or her departed husband’s
real and imagined transgressions

Mother died
and the death toll of the pandemic
rose to one person a minute in my land

In Afghanistan foreign forces withdrew
under the cover of night

and the Taliban demanded that young girls
be “married” to their fighters in broad daylight

In Kabul, refugees live on streets
trembling at the no-longer-unimaginable
fall of Kabul

Mother fell
and I wonder
if I can still stand

Rise up, Mother!
Remember who you are
Remember your name

Bänoo Zan is a poet, librettist, translator, teacher, editor and poetry curator, with more than 250 published poems and poetry-related pieces as well as three books including Songs of Exile and Letters to My Father. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Toronto’s most diverse and brave poetry reading and open mic series (inception: 2012). Her social media links are: LinkedIn; Instagram; Facebook; Twitter Bänoo, along with Cy Strom, is the co-editor of the anthology: Woman Life Freedom: Poems for the Iranian Revolution, scheduled for publication in 2025. Read other articles by Bänoo.