July/Aug 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 4 |

To Live Again

Translated from the Persian The TV announced that Tehran’s pollution index was at 140 and that children and the elderly should not leave home. I was supposed to take my son to an Afghan trade fair—one of those sham exhibitions quickly cobbled together in Iran to con folk into thinking there’s real sympathy and a shared heritage between the two neighboring countries. A few days earlier my son had asked me point-blank: “How come you’re an Afghan, Mom? What is it like there?” Tehran had already sunk, again, into a gaseous miasma, and even from the vantage point of our high-rise apartment you could not see the slightest trace of the mountains that surround the city. This meant things were bad. Really bad. How was I to answer the boy? Afghanistan—well, it’s that nightmare of a place next to Iran. Why am I an Afghan? Who knows? Maybe because I’m not from Pakistan or India or Sweden. I had no answer, and what was worse was that I am not, nor have I ever bee

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Photo of Aliyeh Ataei
Born in 1981, Aliyeh Ataei is an Afghan writer who received her degree in dramatic writing from the University of Tehran. She is the author of several books, both fiction and nonfiction, in her native Persian, all of which have won some of Iran’s most prestigious awards. Translations of her works into English can be found in such publications as Guernica, Words Without Borders, and the Michigan Quarterly Review. Ataei lives and works in Tehran.  
Photo of Salar Abdoh
Salar Abdoh’s most recent book is Out of Mesopotamia (Akashic Books, 2020), a New York Times Editors’ Choice, which will be released in paperback in August. He lives and works in Tehran and New York City, where he teaches in the MFA program at the City College of New York.

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(Re)vision

By Shara Lessley

Translated from the Persian The TV announced that Tehran’s pollution index was at 140 and that children and the elderly should not leave home. I was supposed to take my […]

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