Shahla Latifi

A Free Woman

 They say it’s the twenty-first century

the era of women’s freedom

with no fuss, no worries; you are just a free woman


They say:


you can live with no boundaries,

you can choose your love partners, your career,

and your kind of style with no judgment from society


They say:

you are free; you can speak your mind

you can lie on the moon if you want

even with your head full of clouds

colorful as the rainbow, still, you are free as a bird


But when I walk on the street

with my tennis bag on my shoulder

a tennis skirt around my waist

sunglasses covering my eyes

I feel unprotected from judgmental eyes


Still, when I dance on the dance floor

with a long flowing gown of velvety silk

like a willow next to a water stream,

they are staring at me

Some, with a look of adoration

Most, with the eye of unjust curiosity


They want me to sit down with my legs crossed to the side

my lips quiet

My stare, senseless

invisible, speechless

with my head down to listen to the noises around me


Still, when my mind intertwines the truth

describing my flaws,

the delicacy of my senses,

the warmth of my passion through the night in a piece of a poetry

They say:

You are a woman; you are free,


it would help if you were more modest


let us speak out on your behalf


Yet, when I walk the way I do, a gleam of sunshine slides along me

My laughter, free of shyness, tells a hundred stories of women before me



Yet, beneath the heavy sky,

Full of injustice and indifferences 

arm to arm with my free soul

Undisturbed, unfearful

I conquer the world as the free woman I am.


Shahla Latifi

March 2022