Nahid Arjouni is an Iranian-Kurd poet and Scarriet is proud to publish the following four poems of hers— for the first time in English.

A Lock of My Hair

Snip a lock of my hair.
Take it with you.
Doors will open,
when you arrive in any town.
My headscarf will shudder,
if you speak with anyone.
I will be very jealous
if any woman falls in love with you.
That’s how
I spread around the stations of the world.

Being a Buck

I must have been a buck.
I could have attacked humans in cars, buses, homes,
I could have escaped to the highest mountains, where no one could find me.
I could have crossed the edge of the abyss,
into passageways no one could see.
I could have been a buck that had no place to sleep,
the buck that sleeps with a woman who never sleeps in a bed,
I could have been a buck for the woman who still thinks
there is no way but being a buck.

How Many Times…

How many times can we dress our dead?
How many times can we shout in the streets, among the crowds?
How many times can we hide our faces from invisible cameras?
How many times can we take pictures of spouting blood?
How long can we be alive?
Every day, every moment,
One of us dies,
One of us drinks poison,
One of us, afraid of being lost,
Afraid of drinking poison,
Afraid of vanishing in a cell no one can find—
How many times can we
How many times
How many


We inherit naivete in our home.
My father plays the piano and believes
“Music rescues the world.”

My brother writes letters to the war,
“Hey bastards, wrap it up, can’t you see how many were killed?”

I think
“Poetry rescues the middle east.”


Translator Shohreh Laici lives in Tehran


1 = 1

Khosrow Golsorkhi, an Iranian journalist, poet and activist, was accused of plotting to kidnap the Shah of Iran’s son and arrested at the age of 29. In televised court proceedings he defended his Marxist beliefs and compared himself to Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad. He was executed on February 18, 1974, at the age of 30.


The teacher was shouting at the board.

He flushed angrily

and his hands were covered with chalk dust.

The students in the last row of seats were eating fruits and making noises;

on the other side of the class a student was flipping through a magazine.

None of the students were paying attention

because the teacher was shouting and pointing to the algebraic equations.

The teacher wrote on the blackboard, which reminded us of darkness and cruelty,


one is equal to one.

One of the students rose

(always one must rise)

and said softly,

“The equation is a blunder.”

The teacher was shocked

and the student asked,

“If one human being was one unit

Does one equal one, still?”

It was a difficult question and the students were silent.

The teacher shouted,

“Yes, it is equal!”

The student laughed,

“If one human being was one unit,

the one who had power and money would be greater than the poor one

who had nothing but a kind heart.

If one human being was one unit,

the one who was white would be greater than the one who was black.

If one human being was one unit,

equality would be ruined.

If one were equal to one

how would it be possible for the rich to get richer?

Or who would build China’s wall?

If one were equal to one,

who would die of poverty?

or who would die of lashing?

If one were equal to one,

who would imprison the liberals?

The teacher cried:

“Please write in your notebooks

one is not equal to one.”







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