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My Town

And suddenly a black cloud
shrouded the city's skies
and all movement halted.

I walked, reaching nowhere
past hypnotized eyes and
arrested steps of a crowd,
past minds erased of memories,

pallid roses and
mute birds dried upon branches,
barbed wire shooting from the soil
and young hands holding daggers
instead of bouquets.

I walked past words capsized in books
and mirrors broken in shame.

A singer's tongue
was sown to his mouth
and moaning chains
swallowed echoes of music;
the sound of the whip
slashed the winter's whisper;
alas, waves of black crows
drowned the canary's song.

Lovers languished in cells
and a hole was dug beneath the feet
of anyone standing with words to utter.
The rains stopped
and the black cloud entrenched
deeper in the sky.
A tree trunk longed
for engravings of lovers' wishes.

Tulips shrivelled
and the swallow's sighs
choked in its chest.
The black cloud towered overhead
blocking the sun and the breeze;
winter was the sole season
repeating endlessly in the calendar.

One day, in the main square
love was executed and Mary stoned to death;
from that moment
the clocks' hands turned backwards
bewildered and lost,
and time reversed course.

I had gone to that town
to find a part of myself, but instead,
left my roots behind and ran away;
that town was not my town anymore.

Parvin Javadi
Translated by Bijan Mottahedeh