Second place — Bänoo Zan

photo credit: Alex Usquiano

Bänoo Zan has over 200 published poems and three books, including Songs of Exile (2016) and Letters to My Father (2017.) She founded Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Toronto’s most diverse poetry reading and open mic series, in 2012.  Twitter: @BanooZan & @ShabeSherTO Instagram: @banoo.zan Facebook & LinkedIn: Bänoo Zan

 

Naming Ceremony  
                                                              
  I.                     

I am—
 
flesh-wound
weapon-country
womb-bomb
 
in nakedness and trust
covered in war
 
barefoot hungry
passport-less
mirror-eyed
 
I want you
to know my name—
 
  II.                  
 
Your nightmares—
fairy tales—
you keep out of the news—
 
self-harm after attack
darkness after the dark
 
I want to know—
I can’t stop it
if I don’t know
 
your dark alleys
and armpits—
your spine—
 
the sacred place
between your legs—
 
breasts and elbows
and feet—
 
the forest
where you buried
yourself—
 
and the moon
that witnessed
the journey
 
I want to know
your name
 
  III.               
 
This woman—
 
who struggles
to be herself—
 
rooted in ancestral
secrets—
 
her body betraying her
in every way
her mind does—
 
a drop of water—
 
her eyes round
with discovery
of the forest
 
she has become—
 
She is fighting—
hasn’t given up—
and never will—
 
I want to give her
my name—
 
 
 © Bänoo Zan, 2020