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Always in my face you were looking for someone it wasn’t me
you could kill someone always it wouldn’t be me  not me at all
when I was looking at you from far-away you were nearest to
yourself  my shoulder shivered just a little so you wouldn’t see
even under the stone when I was shuddering I didn’t shudder
even when you pulled the nails from my fingers I myself was
painting them red
When you shaved my head I kept plaiting the tulips of my hair
so that in the morning they would sway in waves like the dawn
breeze & wind themselves around my waist
When you blindfolded my eyes and push-pushed me to the Hang-
Man’s Tree   with my own feet I walked toward the poker tables
so as to lose all that I had & come back & spit full into the mirror
then in my face I would look for someone who’s no longer there
My  the mirror of this house holds strange memories !

So I would wrench out my heart that always was in pain
and throw it at the mirror with its closed-up hidden wounds
What a tulip tree ! This one in the full mirror see it lung-in
its tree-breaths

The drop of rain that becomes a pearl knows about this
Knows about the feel of the poem that from its roots is in pain
in my skin and my words

Ziba Karbassi was born in Tabriz, northwestern Iran.She had to leave her country with her mother in the mid-1980s when she was a young teenager and for most of the time since then she has lived in London. She has published ten books of poetry in Persian, She also writes poetry in Turkish. Two books of her poems are translated and published in the U.K, Italy, and in English and Italian. Karbassi is widely regarded as the most accomplished Persian poet of her generation. Her dense and revolutionary lyrical poetry achieves an intensity and balance that is rare in contemporary poetry. She has read widely across Europe and America. She was chairperson of the Iranian Writers Association (in exile) from 2002 to 2004 and editor of Asar.name and one of the editors in Exiled Inkliterature magazines in London.

Last year she won the Golden Apple Poetry Price for Azerbaijan. Her poems have appeared in many languages throughout Europe, the UK and US. Translations by Stephen Watts have appeared in such journals as Poetry Review and Modern Poetry Translation.