I walk along the green pathways of the cemetery, from where the patches of a cloudy sky are visible

through the sycamore and willow trees. I watch row after row of marble tombstones with framed pictures of young soldiers who died with a promise of an eternal life in heaven. Groups of black-dressed mourners splash water on their faces from the glorious fountain in the middle of the square. The crimson water cascades out of an immense tulip figure in the memory of the red blood of the young who lost lives for the country at war with Iraq. They are shahid, the martyred, the honored. The air is cool and filled with the verses of the Koran coming from the loudspeakers over the blooming plaza. A mild wind blows the green-white-red national flag. I walk the entire length to the end of the cemetery, where a line of elevated, green cypress trees end and the dirt road begins. No taxis or buses pass this point; an abandoned, hushed field lies on the horizon. As I near this deserted place with no trees or green shrubs, my kneesweaken. I look carefully for the signs my brothers have left here to find Mohammad. I know I am endangering my life. Only the mothers are allowedin this part of the field, on Fridays. My mother holds my passport and the plane tickets to Istanbul. She begged me and got my word not to go to the graveyard, but I cannot leave this land without saying my final goodbye to my brother. I kneel at his grave, a nameless, fractured, rectangular cement slab surrounded by brown weeds, among hundreds and hundreds of other nameless scattered graves. I pour rosewater over his grave and cover the surface with pink and white rose petals and orange blossoms I have picked from once my grandmother’s garden. I have not talked to God or whomeveris out there since the day I learned of Mohammad’s execution. I try to say a prayer, but my heart is no longer a place for his worship. I do not plead for his justice. I leave the praying to my grandmother and the cursing to my mother. I choose to cry, loud and bitter. I know it is forbidden to cry on someone’s grave, for one who has been hanged and buried in the middle of

the night, withno proper burial, but this is my brother and I want to mourn. This is my brother who gave me Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Ahmad Mahmood, Daneshvar, Dr. Shariati, .... My eyes wander the hushed field. Above my head, the sky turns from a misty gray to a gloomy dark ashen. I hear only the sound of my sobbing. I do not hide my tears and let the drops of rain wash my face, for I do not know if I will ever be able to feel the rain of my country’s sky again. I finger the moist soil around my brother’s grave and let the musky air embrace me. This is the soil my brother lost his life for, yet he is not called shahid. I wonder where my final resting place will be and it hurts my soul to think that my remains might not cultivate this land, the land of my childhood. I have only to close my eyes to hear Mohammad’s voice in the eerie execution yard. Down with fanatism. Freedom for Iran. His face materializes through the dense clouds, the familiar smile in his green eyes. As I rise to my feet, I gaze one last time at Mohammad’s grave and the entire graveyard. I am surrounded with rising images and whispers, and voices forcefully silenced. May your soul rest in peace, my beloved brother. You will always be alive in my heart.

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