Issue 5 – Lifshin


Lyn Lifshin

Five Poems

Malala Yousafzai is a teenager from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkwa province. She is known for her education and women’s right’s activism where the Taliban had banned girls from attending school. On October 9, 2012 she was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus.

The Taliban Tried to Kill Her

in the fall as the leaves
were changing, left
scorched bark, blood
spattered on cedar.
They threw acid on
the faces of girls
seeking to learn.
Vultures, falcons,
pheasants, the body of
a 7 year old who
was wrapped
in stained cloth

Before the Taliban Closed Down Her School in the Swat Valley

the war displaced her
family, her friends.
Nights in a house
with no books, only
the stars for company.
Lying alone in the
dark not able to sleep,
she must have listened
to night birds. If
there were dreams,
they were dreams of
a girl screaming,
acid thrown in her face.
couldn’t help but
be terrified about her
school, her home
her two pet chickens

A Year after the Filmmaker

did a two part documentary
on her family, Malala and
her father stayed with the
filmmaker in Islamabad
where she once, when
shopping for English
language books and dvd’s
picked up some trashy
American sit com books.
The filmmaker had to remind
that this girl, who never
shuddered at beheaded
corpses, public flogging
or death threats at her father
was still just a kid

Tho He Wanted His Daughter in Public, in the News

to be out in
the world, a leader,
risking danger.
A voice, a woman
in a pink dress.
But what of the
mother, not in the
documentary film,
not with reporters,
not in any photos.
When the film
maker asked her
father about
restrictions, he’d
just laugh, joke
Malala should not
be listening to
this and change
the subject