A Poem for Maryam Mirzakhani

July 20, 2017

Maryam Mirzakhani

Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani died of breast cancer on July 15 at the age of 40. A professor at Stanford University, Mirzakhani became the first woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal—the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in the world of mathematics.


No Hijab in Death

For the late Maryam Mirzakhani

Your country lifts its veil

            over you;

it breaks its own glass               


In grief.

Now free of all taboos, your face


  its origins.

The world numbs

     seeing your un-scarfed head;

your eyes

  lost in a maze of numbers.

Your daughter shall cross

           new rivers

under freer skies.

She will learn what you

Always knew:

   Beauty is an accident.


make your way in the dark

              to touch

      its keynote.

Photo by Rajarshi Dasgupta

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee is a poet, writer, and political science scholar. He frequently writes for The Wire and has contributed to the New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, The Hindu, and Outlook, among other publications. His book of political nonfiction, Looking for the Nation: Towards Another Idea of India, was recently published by Speaking Tiger Books (2018). His previous contributions to WLT include poems for Nadia Murad and Maryam Mirzakhani.

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