Afghan Women’s Writing Project | My Beautiful and Lovely Kandahar

I love the fresh fruit, the dry fruit: pomegranates,

raisins, figs. I love the kohl, henna and bangles,

the clothing, pottery, flowers, gardens. I remember

the village girls fighting, reconciling. I remember

wedding parties for our dolls, paper ships rising

on rainwater. I miss the stories from grandmothers,

handmade embroidery, the early morning birdsong.

I miss collecting wheat, miss flavors. I have questions

for the enemies of my city. Why do you plant poppies

instead of pomegranates? Why do you draw blood

instead of henna on the hands of girls? Why do you

put chains instead of bangles on our wrists? Was it

our fault? Is that why we have these coffins? I want

back my happy homeland, my smiling faces. I want

God to erase all this violence, these screaming mothers,

this sky of smoke. I am not weak and small anymore.

I will not let them destroy my city. I have speech

for those who would silence speech. My heart burns

to explain these problems, this terror, with honesty.

People are scared of losing their fingers if they vote,

scared of losing their sons if they work in the government,

scared of going outside. The Taliban will throw acid

in our eyes. Don’t think that I don’t see. You grow

narcotics in the yard, make us busy with them, sick

and useless. How will you hide from judgment?

You will not. I will work hard for my city. I will love

you until the end of my life. My beautiful and lovely

Kandahar, I will not let the hearts inside our people break.

By Shogofa Az

via Afghan Women’s Writing Project | My Beautiful and Lovely Kandahar.