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Sunday, February 05, 2023


by Tara Menon

A grinning man who decapitated his wife and paraded down the street with her head in his hands has been jailed for just eight years in Iran. Mum-of-one Mona Heydari (above) was just 17 when she was dragged from a car outside the family home and killed in February last year, a court heard. Her husband Sajjad Heydari and his brother Heydar carried out the brutal attack in Ahvaz, the capital of the southwestern Khuzestan Province. Mona, who had been married since the age of 12, had fled her violent husband with another man, the court heard. However, the woman was tracked down in Turkey by her own father - named as Javid in local media - who returned her to her violent husband. The man allegedly used Interpol to trace his daughter and returned her to Iran, where her husband - who is also her cousin - slaughtered her, claiming she had shamed him. —The Mirror (UK), January 19, 2023

How much is my head worth
in my country?
Beheaded that is
with pools of blood.
Eight years?
So little for my murderer.
Why not seventeen
for every year I’ve lived?
Or eighty minus seventeen
assuming I’d have become an octogenarian.

I fled his violence,
but my family lured me back to Iran
with assurances I’d be safe. I was not.
And then my family pardoned my husband
else he’d have been killed by the state.
No woman is free from danger
when unfair laws lurk.
Ask Mahsa Amini,
who was killed for showing 
a bit of hair peeping out of her burqa.
Look up at the sky
where we hover
waiting to enter heaven
after justice finds its way to earth.
We could blow the clouds, strike lightning bolts,
thunder from above forever.
The weight of our souls burdens hearts, 
but no one knows
we’re also present inside palpitating organs
to get across our message.

Tara Menon is an Indian-American writer based in Lexington, Massachusetts. Her most recent poems have been published in Tipton Poetry Journal, Arlington Literary Journal, San Pedro River Review, and The Loch Raven Review. Her latest fiction has appeared in The Hong Kong Review, Litro, The Bookends Review, Rio Grande Review, and The Evening Street Review. She is also a book reviewer and essayist whose pieces have appeared in many journals.