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ISSUE:  Summer 2010

Oh, the time we were seven
That amazing moment is gone now
After you whatever happened
Happened in the midst of madness and ignorance
After you
The window that was once so alive and bright
And was our connection to the birds
To the breeze

After you
That clay doll that didn’t say anything
Other than “water, water, water”
Drowned in the water
After you
We smothered the voice of the crickets
And we became obsessed with
The sound of the school bell ringing after we sang our ABCs
We became obsessed with
The sound of the whistle blowing at the gun factory

After you
Where we used to play under the tables
We began to play behind the tables
And then on top of the tables
And we lost
We lost you
Oh, the time we were seven

After you
We became each other’s traitors
After you
We wrote all our memories in graffiti
With shards of bullets and splattered blood
Which we wiped off the face of the plastered walls
After you
We marched on the squares
And yelled: “Hail to this! Death to that!”
And in the middle of all the shouting
We threw coins and clapped for the singers in the square
Who had snuck into the city
After you, we who had become each other’s murderers
Judged love
And as our hearts grew preoccupied with what was in our pockets
We judged which part belonged to love

After you
We rushed to the cemetery
But death was breathing under Grandmother’s chador
And death was that huge tree
Where the living on this side
Tied strings to its branches
And the dead on the other side
Clawed at its phosphorescent roots
While all the time death was sitting in the holy shrine
Where four blue tulip shaped lamps lit up each corner
It sounds like the wind is blowing
It sounds like the wind blowing
Oh, the time we were seven

I stood up and drank some water
Suddenly I remembered
How newly planted fields are terrified of locusts
How much do we have to pay?
How much do we have to pay
For this cement cube, sitting in the shrine, to grow?

We’ve given up everything we were ever supposed to give up
We set out on the road without a lantern
And the moon, that kind woman, was always there
Shining on the mud roof of childhood memories
Shining on the newly planted fields
That are frightened of being invaded by locusts

How much do we have to pay?


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