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 from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the author of Nehru and the Spirit of India (Penguin Random House, 2022).