This is a “Thank you” to all the women who provide the bulk of the world’s unpaid and unappreciated labor, but remain invisible.
My hero is an exhausted mother
Who sings lullabies to her kids
Even though one day
They may feel ashamed to call her by her name. *
My hero is a woman who wakes up to comfort her child
When her husband is sound asleep,
And feels pain in her own body, when her child is ill.
My hero is a woman who cooks, cleans, hosts, and serves everyday
But is never thanked for her work.
“She doesn’t do anything. She is a housewife,” She hears them say.
My hero raises her child
And teaches him how to walk,
But when he grows up, he calls her “weak”. **
She teaches her son how to read,
But watches him grow into a man who calls her “half-brained”. ***
My hero is that woman who works at home and outside.
She pays for everything and cooks for everyone,
She takes the least space
And her presence is never felt until she is no more.
*In Afghanistan, calling women by their names in public is considered a taboo. Instead we are often referred to as someone’s mother, sister, or wife. Recently Afghan women launched the #WhereIsMyName campaign to combat the taboo that surrounds women’s identities.
*” Zaeefa” is a term used to describe women in Afghanistan. It means “the weak one”.
*** “Naqes-ul-aql” is another term used to describe women. It literally translated to “mentally defective.”
Feature image by Rada Akbar.
Read a longer version of this poem in Persian here.