MAMAN
BANOO ZAN

At the Museum of Armenian Genocide

You sit
your trembling
body down

at the museum of
mass killings

and pray
in the language of
the crime

Age has robbed
you of anger—

translated your
suspicious eyes

into glimmers
of laughter

and irritating
questions

You are an old
baby now—

smile and kiss
in vain—

worship my hands
like the shrine
of saints—

Memory is your beloved
laid out
in a mass grave

with countless
anonymous names—

to save peace
from protest—

The road is twisted

Where are you
going?


Bänoo Zan is a poet, librettist, translator, teacher, editor and poetry curator, with more than 170 published poems and poetry-related pieces as well as three books. Song of Phoenix: Life and Works of Sylvia Plath, was reprinted in Iran in 2010.  Songs of Exile, her first poetry collection, was released in 2016 in Canada by Guernica Editions. It was shortlisted for Gerald Lampert Memorial Award by the League of Canadian Poets in 2017. Letters to My Father, her second poetry book, was published in 2017 by Piquant Press in Canada. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Toronto’s most diverse poetry reading and open mic reading series (started in 2012). It is a brave space that bridges the gap between communities of poets from different ethnicities, nationalities, religions (or lack thereof), ages, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, poetic styles, voices and visions.