By Wendy Vardaman

Heaven and Hell

for Farideh Hassanzedeh

She says she could forget, if not
for her indifferent feet,
the dead child, her dead child;
if not for the insistent feet

that bring her to the place where head
strong bombs stole his small hands, made
him a damaged bird with useless
wings, fit only for burying. She said

that when she shuts her restless
eyes to sleep, her child comes
back to life. I wonder
if God could forget about us,

too, if her own feet didn’t take her
unwilling to us, if we didn’t linger
behind her eyelids. I believe
that in the next world, if there

is a next world, all those who live
behind a mother’s lids, including those of
God, will be as real to everyone as to their mothers,
that God will be as real as every mother.

-originally published in Thanal Online