22 May

A Soldier On A Two-Hour Leave Of Absence

Waiting for the grenade to burst,
I count your name down
From one thousand and one to five,
to see whether I’m to kill or be killed.
During the night watch I engrave your name on the sentry kiosk,
on my bed in the barracks, on my gun’s stock.
Every morning I swear by the flag and water and earth and your name.
All these take only two years.
And then your name becomes like any other name,
your lips like all other lips and my poem, like any other poem.

(c)Mohammad Tolouei

Tr. Farzaneh Doosti & Martin Turner