Dad kissed me goodbye three times

by Asefeh Zeinalabedini

I was six months old,
newly born, wrapped in the silk of family love,
How could I know the cruel world around me?

They were fighting outside, they said!
A revolution was to be born
so the newly born could live happily forever!

Dad left to join the streets of smoke,
He kissed me goodbye on the forehead, they said!
Who knew what? He might have joined the heaven travellers…,
But lucky I was lucky,
The bullet took the man in the front line
And Dad came back!

I was eight years old,
melting everyone’s hearts with my dimples,
I had Dad’s serious face,
I had Mum’s kind soul
I had learnt to survive eight years of war!

There in a single room in the village of our refuge,
my one year old brother slept peacefully,
in the early morning but
I woke up to the sound of whispers,
familiar horrified breaths…
about home, our street, our house…
How many died? I don’t remember…
I drifted in the air… floating, not flying…
What happened to the mulberry tree?
Dad had to go back home
He kissed me goodbye again…

But lucky I was lucky…
Dad came back, dragging the heavy story of ruins and loss…

Then Dad stayed and I grew up.
Now I was the one to leave

Dad stayed, but I didn’t,
He kissed me goodbye for the third time…

Now it is time for me to go back
and give him a kiss – Hello…

Asefeh Zeinalabedini is a poet and performer who writes and performs in three languages of Persian, Azerbaijani and English. She published her poems in Woroni Multilingual paper, Arrival journal of Lost in Books bookshop in Sydney and Persian Sugar in English Tea V III, a bilingual anthology in USA.