On January 8, 176 people were killed when a Ukrainian International Airlines flight, bound for Kyiv, crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran, Iran.
The majority of the plane's passengers — 138 of them — were heading to Canada. Many had roots across the country.
Maryam Zarenejad is a writer and spoken word artist of Iranian descent who lives in Vancouver. Her work can be heard on Telegram (an online app), via the channel "Sarpanah."
Though she did not personally lose anyone in the plane crash, Zarenejad was moved to write this poem, in Farsi, imagining someone on the flight saying goodbye to their parents.
This is a work of fiction. An English translation of the poem follows.
Listen to Maryam Zarenejad recite her poem in Farsi:
I had gone to Iran to patch my torn heart from the impact of forced migration and come back.
I had gone to soothe the sores of my heart preparing to continue the battle against the challenges of immigration.
I wanted to stay with you longer, but you sent me away with your tearful eyes, saying, "Go my dear, I want you to be safe and secure in Canada. Maybe a war will happen here. Go my dear. Go baby. Go to your safe home."
When the plane took off, you took a sigh of relief.
You raised your shaky hands toward the sky saying, "Thank god, now my child is safe."
You closed your eyes for a second to put your worried heart to rest when the news came.
Your eyes will never be dry again.
You sent me across the world but you didn't know that I would be flying to heaven.
When you sent me away, you didn't remember that we are Middle Eastern children, and we are not safe anywhere in the world.
You didn't think to yourself that we are either killed in war, drowned in the sea, killed in plane crashes or on roads.
Goodbye dear Mom! I love you.
I am glad the last image in my thoughts before the flight was your kind face.
I wish you patience.
Goodbye my father, don't worry about me anymore. I hope you can endure losing me.
And goodbye my homeland! "May God protect you from enemies, lies and drought."