for Cy Strom


You escape

into my eyes

Your silence


on nothing

but now



onto your sweat

and riddles



I am the dream

you wish

you never wake up


You are the ransom

of conflicts


The minaret

of your synagogue

recites my azan

I whirl

around earthquakes

of déjà vu

I have

met you—

in lovers not in love—

in love turned lover—

written lines

on the face

you think

is me

You are a godless


and I take you

with arms

open to faith





At war with the world

at peace with the self—

have I won or lost?

in the bloodless bloodshed

of either-or—

a pahlavan*

of epic silence

Which breast do I dispose of?

being left-hearted


I would’ve challenged you

had I not been the verse

My mirror-smeared

curls of courage

untold for romantic


In bed with the battlefield—

a hero fighting me with love

Taking arms

against the arms of war

I envy the object of my love

At war with the self

at peace with the world

have I lost

or lost?

*Gurdāfarīd, literally “of heroic mettle,” is one of the heroines in the Shāhnāmeh, “The Book of Kings” or “The Epic of Kings”, by Firdawsī. She was a champion who fought against Sohrab, the son of epic hero Rostam. On his quest to find his heroic father whom he has never met, Sohrab encounters a knight in full armour. In the middle of the fight, the unknown knight’s helmet falls off and a woman, Gord_Äfarïd, is revealed. Sohrab stops the battle, falls in love and asks her to marry him. He is rejected on the grounds that “the Turks do not seek consorts from among Iranians.”
*Persian, an ethical hero

About the Poet:

992802_297920937019498_636534380_nBänoo Zan has been writing poetry since the age of ten and has published more than 80 poems, translations, biographies, and articles. She is the founder and host of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), the most diverse of its kind in Toronto. For more than two years, Shab-e She’r has been bridging the gap between diverse poetry communities, bringing together people from different ethnicities, nationalities, ages, disabilities, religions (or lack thereof), genders, sexual orientations, poetic styles, voices and visions.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/poetry.gallery.toronto/