Memories of Urmia, My City by Narjes Azimi


Memories of Urmia, My City
Narjes Azimi

I asked my mother to promise me
To bury my writings with me when I am dead
So at least I can share them with the ghosts of the cemetery,
If they like to read them of course—
My grandfather interrupted me while bringing his sterile eye drops,
“Daughter, it’s wartime, you cannot trust anyone, even dead people,”
And my grandmother blinked her eye as a sign,
“Nobody is going to take off our country’s big mask,
Maybe nobody wants to see what is concealed behind it,”
my Grandfather continued with a bitter smile.
“Do you like people to have sympathy for you?” he asked.
“No,” I answered, “I don’t need anybody’s”—
I got goose bumps at that moment—
“But I think it’s called empathy.”
“Oh well, that’s a big joke,” he said.
“You’d better be buried with your writings
Rather than trust anyone else,” he said thoughtfully.
“Remember, we are at war, they gesture to help, pretend
To take your hand, but then leave you alone, that’s all.”
Grandmother blinked again and gave him his medicine.
The next morning I was reading my poem to the hemlock in front of my window
And the sweet smell of Grandmother’s honeysuckle was everywhere,
When siren’s loud warning noise trembled me in a new nightmare,
Like an infant shivering with cold when it’s born,
I opened my eyes, and a woman in white dress gave me my poem book,
Asked me to read it loud for all the people standing in white dress.


Narjes Azimi was born in 1981 during the war in the Middle East. She got her BA and MA in English language and Literature. After 2 years of studying Ph.D in linguistics, she dropped it for the purpose of writing for those who are involved in a war. She mostly writes in English, although English is her 4th language. The main theme of her stories and poems is war and those suffering from it yet have a dream of peace. She also has some short stories for children of war and literary essays, along with critical notes on African American Literature. Recently she started her PhD in communication and media studies.

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