drone harvest

they have killed the jalghoza

a local afghan woman wails in the market while beating her chest

no one understands why a woman would waste her tears on pine nuts 

when there are crown walnuts and prized cashews overflowing from the stands

the cashier pays her no mind, fidgeting with his tasbeh as he counts an elderly man’s change

ahmad zahir’s voice croons through the store, but somehow this khala jaan’s grief 

is the only soundtrack customers are willing to listen to

you do not understand, she beseeches

jalghoza requires patience

it is the most naazdana nut to grow

the only nut that is born with funeral attire already on its skin

you have to literally peel the life out

they have killed the men who harvest patience without ever laying hands on them

an act reserved for god has been achieved by men

her scarf soaked, the khala grabs me and shrieks,

jaanem, how will our children learn how to give pine nuts life

if they keep watching the sky to avoid death?


Liala Zaray is an Afghan poet from the Bay Area. Her work focuses on the Afghan diaspora and the Afghan community as a whole. Liala is a recent graduate from UC Davis and will be an MFA candidate at St. Mary’s. She loves pomegranates, alpacas, and is a professional napper.