a tired voice asks her
to free herself, dance under the city’s
She sings silently for freedom
and lets her beauty shine
across Tehran’s grey streets.
But some vicious eyes catch
her net-tangled body
that is struggling hard for freedom,
She shows the world that
it doesn’t always work that way.
Sometimes she means to free her body
then her soul is trapped heavily
under strong talons.
You might think she is flying
but under the skin
her heart is being crushed
in a thousand painful ways.
About the Poem
The poem is dedicated to the 22-year-old Zhina known as Mahsa Amini who was
detained last Tuesday for not covering her hair with the Islamic headscarf, known as hijab, which is mandatory for Iranian women. She died after falling into a coma.
About the Author
Sarwa Azeez is from Iraqi Kurdistan. She received her master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2020. Her debut poetry pamphlet collection, Remote, was published in 2019. Her writing seeks to define identity and confront issues of equal gender representation and violence in male dominant communities.