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The Muezzin

for Seyyed Javad Zabihi


A seyyed—

the Prophet’s descendant—

he wore a fez—

as a pious Muslim


chanted the azan and

spiritual supplications

on the national radio—


His pleas

converted Muslims to Islam


His deep voice and tremolos

the purest praise of the divine in Persian

His instrument his throat


Like the arrow of Arash

the Muezzin’s soul—

would leave his body

and touch the believers and deniers


After the revolution

he was accused of

being in league with the kafir


Radio archives were purged

of his recordings


He came to fear for his life

petitioned ayatollahs for protection

was jailed for a while


Some time after his release

in the holy Muslim month

he was invited to a religious gathering


Later a photo

of his body

was sent to newspapers—

dismembered—

with his tongue cut out—


Young men brought into the fold

by the likes of the muezzin—

claimed responsibility


Still later, the Sharia ruler who sentenced

thousands of political prisoners to death

wrote that he had ordered the execution


The muezzin

became a muezzin

in a secular dictatorship


and was martyred by fellow-Muslims

in an Islamic Republic

in the month of Ramadan


Now he is in Heaven

His chants

transcending tongues

for an audience of one—

Allah

Islam immigrant

by Bänoo Zan


Bänoo Zan is a poet, translator, essayist, and poetry curator, with more than 280 published pieces and three books including Songs of Exile and Letters to My Father. She is the founder of Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), Canada’s most diverse and brave poetry open mic (inception 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, abilities, poetic styles, voices, and visions. Bänoo, along with Cy Strom, is the co-editor of the poetry anthology: “Woman, Life, Freedom: Poems for the Iranian Revolution.” Deadline for sending poems is March 2024. Find the submission guidelines here: https://guernicaeditions.submittable.com/submit.

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