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Three Dolls

unforgettable companions

By Parwana FayyazPublished about a year ago 1 min read
my mother, Roqea, who always gave us companionship in the times of war and desperation.

Three Dolls

[from my first collection of poetry called, Forty Names, published by Carcanet Press in July 2021]

During the wars,

my mother made our clothes

and our toys.

For her three daughters,

she made dresses and once,

she made us each a doll.

Their figures were made with sticks

gathered from our neighbor’s garden.

She rolled white cotton fabric

around the stick frames

to create a skin for each doll.

Then she fattened the skin

with cotton extracted from an old pillow.

With black and red yarns bought from

uncle Farid’s store, my mother created faces.

A unique face for each doll.

Large black eyes, thick eyelashes and eyebrows,

Long black hair, a smudge of black for each nose.

And lips in red.

Our dolls came alive,

with each stitch of my mother’s sewing needle.

We dyed their cheeks with red rose-petals,

and fashioned skirts from bits of fabric,

from my mother’s sewing basket.

And finally, we named our dolls.

Mine with a skirt of royal green was the oldest and tallest,

And I called her Duur. Pearl.

Shabnam chose a skirt of bright yellow

and called her doll, Pari. Angel.

And our youngest sister, Gohar, chose deep blue fabric,

and named her doll, Raang. Color.

They lived longer than our childhoods.


About the Creator

Parwana Fayyaz

I am an Afghan writer. Forty Names, my first collection of poetry, was published in 2021 and named a New Statesman Book of the Year and a White Review Book of the Year. I also translate both poetry and fiction from Persian into English.

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Comments (1)

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  • Naveed 4 months ago

    A message is one of hope and resilience. Even in the midst of war, the poet's mother was able to find joy and creativity in making dolls for her daughters. The dolls themselves became symbols of hope and survival for the three sisters.

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