Bänoo Zan

Tell my story

                                                                                                                                                                            “If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
                                                                                                                                                                                        Absent thee from felicity awhile
                                                                                                                                                                And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                To tell my story”
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hamlet to Horatio 
I am my wound—
broken skin and bone—
blood flood—
I am a target—
the privilege of
the dark, the feminine, the Yin
When I am a corpse in the river
when I dissolve in acid
when I catch fire
                                                           Tell my story—
My wound seeps into me—
I own it—
angry and proud—
But one voice is just one
on the world stage—
                                                           Tell my story—
My wound is my secret—
raped open—
The journey of pain to precipice
an odyssey—
I am not a play
within your play—
                                                           Tell my story—
When the thunder speaks
when the earth seethes
when flowers grow
on the streets
and in war zones
when I am butchered
by my own
or outsiders
                                                           Tell my story—
Injustice is a story
as old as us—
You will never know it all
You will never tell it all
But silence is a betrayal
I will never forgive—
Be my witness—
                                                          Tell my story—

Photo by Alex Usquiano

Bänoo Zan is a poet, librettist, translator, teacher, editor and poetry curator, with more than 200 published poems and poetry-related pieces as well as three books. Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, was reprinted in Iran in 2010.  Songs of Exile, her first poetry collection, was released in 2016 in Canada by Guernica Editions. It was shortlisted for Gerald Lampert Memorial Award by the League of Canadian Poets in 2017.  Letters to My Father, her second poetry book, was published in 2017 by Piquant Press in Canada. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Toronto’s most diverse poetry reading and open mic series (inception: 2012). It is a brave space that bridges the gap between communities of poets from different ethnicities, nationalities, religions (or lack thereof), ages, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, poetic styles, voices and visions.

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