Hajar Hussaini (Russell Sage 2019), poet laureate of The Initiative To Educate Afghan Women, was commissioned to compose a poem for the occasion of The Initiative's first Annual Awards Dinner co-hosted by His Excellency Ambassador Hamdullah and Mrs. Lael Mohib at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Washington, DC.
This Initiative preserved my tomorrow.
And I am learning to write a manuscript
Of a permissible love for rebuilding a nation.
I am playing the role of a lost key
of a lone safe house in the hood.
I put myself together to
give back this peace within me.
You’ve planted the sweetest commitment in me.
And I’ve learned how to travel so far
beyond resemblance, beyond meters, beyond borders.
This is a pure art.
And you should trust me
because I am confident enough to be the artist
with all these empathies you pour into me,
They hang here… (in my brain…)
Like a soft warm cloth lies on the table.
I just need to sharpen my wings
And swim in the opposite direction
I can open the door of new dreams.
No matter what,
Art is art. It will change at least one life.
I want to witness my country grow
like a child beginning to walk.
I will hold its hand before it collapses out of shame,
It will rise up, and the world will wonder
Words will creep into my mouth,
and everyone will recite my poem
in a non-dictatorship regime.
I will change the news,
Not the news channel.
Because when someone dies,
my heart becomes the hardcover
for a dark bitter history book.
Its beats stop, but it has to stay alive.
It is the fifth month, I believe
This hope is all. All I have, all one can fight for.
It won’t extinguish. Can’t you guess it through my words?
I am a cease-fire
If I am not, who else can take such initiative?
I will never forget my history teacher
Never said what happens next…
So I will create a next.
I have stubborn dreams in my pair of feet, in my hands
I will modify realism, one day.
Love will change the history, I’ve heard.
I will steal a piece of your love with me,
Oh this love in you is now forming me.
© Hajar Hussaini 2016
Hajar Hussaini is an honors student in the Writing and Contemporary Thought program at Russell Sage College, editor of the Russell Sage Review literary magazine and poet laureate of The Initiative To Educate Afghan Women. She looks forward to pursuing a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies after graduation.