Donkey Days by Athena Farrokhzad was published by Albert Bonniers förlag in 2022.
Translation from the Swedish by Jennifer Hayashida
14. What a fate, my aunt whispers on the phone Her voice broken by four unprecedented decades Twice, we have sent her embalmed children on planes across the continent How much, I ask the funeral director As if we had hired him for any shipment he replies: It depends on the weight of the deceased Khale, how do you manage to turn night into day This glacier will destroy me and they did not even rest in my womb Every dawn I weep in the armpit of my beloved Tell me again, the fable of how the impossible simply takes a bit longer 43. One day, my aunt vows, the flames will find even those for whom a life is worth less than donkey dung Until then we will leap over the fires and shout that the red is ours, that the fire can keep the yellow We will gallop through the streets, cry like crows from the rooftops that God is great and greater than God is the wrath when we gather And to those who lick their wounds in cover of darkness we will say that no salve can cure a rot that has entered the blood 82. There are people you have never met who love you, I say to my daughter, she understands: Like papa loves his team and like I love a mermaid I forbid my beloved to answer when the phone rings If someone is dead, I don’t want to know My aunt’s cries to the heavens, who will remember how magnificent she was All the burdens she bore and all the catastrophes she faced The braid of childhood in a drawer like a moth-eaten reminder She never stops wearing black, her final sorrow never comes We are trapped in a place between earth and hell, she says beneath a film of smog, we beat our backs bloody with chains stab each other in the thigh with pitchforks Pas kei miaee, she cries on the phone, you are my first daughter I’ll be there soon, I lie, who knows how tomorrow will hold me 88. One day we will return and when our sorrows over the life we were robbed of meet something horrible will fall apart I hate everything I did that estranged me from them I whimper and slap myself, such meaningless rioting If it had at least meant something to someone else or me The most violent quality of repression, my beloved says is its randomness, holds my hands as they make their way to the throat Don’t you remember what your aunt said, that one day our daughters will toast their cousins on revolution square But will there really be a revolution after the night of revolution and will it belong to our daughters if it comes and are those really our daughters slumbering there in bed and what kind of tombstone will we return to