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I saw my name printed under a nude picture.
I am a missing girl,
Living far from his ruins.

He wants to find me,
He who gave me a plate,
He who found me a shelter.

I obeyed him blindly,
he demanded my body to belong,
I gave him my soul mistakenly.

He drew a line
A line I despised,
A line I couldn’t cross.

One night a quake fractured my wall,
but my portraits didn’t fall.
They disappeared one by one,
He got richer,
neglecting the fracture on my soul.

When I asked him to kiss me,
He said why?
I said no reason.
He said he liked me more when I was shy.
I told him my secret:
“A mountain is growing on my back.”
He asked me to be quiet
I was not there to cross the line.

I stayed young in his portraits,
He grew old,
Until the wall collapsed one night.

He lay beside me unconscious,
I stared at his closed eyes,
I knew then there was never love between us.
We were buried alive,
Breathing became our desire for affluence.

When I woke him up,
he climbed the mountain on my back,
We stayed in the ruin until dawn.
The mountain was now gone.
My back was free,
I could stand tall.

He looked into my eyes,
“Why did everything have to change?
You are here on the ground level,
Your portraits down below,
Run! Fetch me help!”

I kissed his lips and ran out there in the field.
I heard he is still searching,
and I am still missing.

Niloufar-Lily Soltani is a Canadian poet, literary translator, and fiction writer. Her poems and translated work have been published in literary magazines. Her debut novel, Zulaikha, will be published by Inanna Publications in spring 2022. Lily is a Humber College creative writing graduate and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Current Issue
25 Sep 2023

People who live in glass houses are surrounded by dirt birds
After a century, the first colony / of bluebirds flew out of my mouth.
Over and over the virulent water / beat my flame down to ash
In this episode of  Critical Friends , the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Aisha and Dan talk to critic and poet Catherine Rockwood about how reviewing and criticism feed into creative practice. Also, pirates.
Writing authentic stories may require you to make the same sacrifice. This is not a question of whether or not you are ready to write indigenous literature, but whether you are willing to do so. Whatever your decision, continue to be kind to indigenous writers. Do not ask us why we are not famous or complain about why we are not getting support for our work. There can only be one answer to that: people are too busy to care. At least you care, and that should be enough to keep my culture alive.
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