This is

This isn’t

This isn’t a

This isn’t a nice

This isn’t a nice, cool

This isn’t a nice, cool dream

This isn’t a cool dream

This isn’t a dream

of a sunny day in

a Cimmerian


This may

This may be

This may be even

This may be even worse

This may be even worse than

This may be even worse than a nightmare

This may not be worse than

This may be the worst

This is the worst


the worst ever monster

the worst ever monstrous

the worst ever monstrous, cool

the worst ever monster, nice, cool

dream, which turned into a

nightmare, since we

didn’t wake up

on time




We were close …


to the door,
you were closer.

lie down!
lie down idiots,

who used to be gentle,

shards of tiles, bricks …

sounds of bullets, people …

the smell of smoke, hydrochloric acid, methanol—
the barbecue fragrance, well-done.

I was stuffed into the space
in between the hydrogen tank
and the incubator, dizzy,
humming everywhere.

lie down!
you didn’t
lie down idiot!
you ran to the door

cut off the power please, please …

We were close,
but you were closer
to the door, to death.






Update April 2018: Listen to Soodabeh Saeidnia read “Punctuality” in Farsi:




Soodabeh Saeidnia was born in Iran (1973) and received her PharmD and PhD of Pharmacognosy from Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Iran. She has written roughly 150 scientific papers for various academic journals, books and chapters in both English and Farsi. She has published a collection of her poems, “Harfhaee- Baraye- Khodam” (Words for myself) and “A Poem and Three Generations” in Farsi. She is author of Street of the Ginkgo Trees, and translator and editor of the anthologies Voice of Monarch Butterflies (Middle Eastern Anthology by Ten Poets from Ganges to Nile); Apple Fruits of an Old Oak, Where Are You From? A Bilingual Anthology in English and Persian; Persian Sugar in English Tea, Vol I & II. Soodabeh currently lives in Kew Gardens, New York.