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To Be A Women - By: Rozhan Kohan

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

To be a woman

Is to be dead.

I once knew a little girl

Whose father locked her in the bathroom

And hurt her until she bled.

I once knew a mother

Whose body was too familiar

With the weight of her brother's hands

Around her neck.

To be a woman

Is to know the roughness of rocks

Against your palms.

I will not be the food of the vultures

Who chase me for my touch.

I will not be stoned.

I will not be strong. To be a woman

In Iran

Is to learn to hide from every green police car

That comes into view.

They carry raped corpses

And they come for you.

I once embraced a woman

Whose last thoughts I could never know

Before she was shot down.

I once said goodbye

And feared that it would be the last time.

I sometimes wonder just how long we will have to wait.

I sometimes wish for it all to end.

To be a woman

Is to be brave

But I do not want to be brave forever.

No, I do not want to be brave forever.

Please give a detailed explanation about the meaning and main idea of this poem.:

To me, this poem is about all the ways that being a woman complicates one's life. I based it on my own experiences as a young girl and what I've come to know, but it is more broadly about the struggles of Iranian women, women in the East, and women of colour in general. There are so many stories to tell, some of which include the domestic violence, police brutality, and street harassment that I wished to mention in my poem.

Please explain your writing and thought process regarding this poem.:

This is an edited version of what the poem was at the start. I began writing it because I was going through many emotions, and writing was the only healthy way that I could control those emotions. I was not very satisfied with the poem at the start, because I'd mostly just written down whatever had come to my mind, but reviewing it and having the goal of hopefully being able to submit it somewhere gave me a new perspective.

Why did you choose to write this poem?:

Because women are dying. In Iran. In the East. Everywhere. I will never be able to live comfortably knowing that I did nothing to change this, as writing is a very educational and political act.

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