April-Rose Geers

black and white portrait of woman in traditional persian headwear

April-Rose Geers (she/her) is an Aotearoa New Zealand emerging poet and scholar of transnational creative activism.
She studies writing that has emerged from present-day crises and joins the response with her poetry. Poems from her collection Border Walker appear in Rat World Magazine and in an essay in New Writing Journal. She is finishing
a PhD in Creative Writing at Massey University, Auckland. aprilrose.geers@gmail.com

Yaran in Iran

a head of tulip
seeds breathe out sweet jasmine tea
my past behind my

eyes meet glassy eyes
veiled as silver tears carve
silken trails over

brittle cheeks that crack
my smile unsealed by love as
vines climb my body

your body blue lips
hang daisy chains loop neck
stem droop heart ache life

long for you to see
I plant in heartsoil fresh
tulips verdant leaves

tossed by the wind they
settle about your shoulders
korowai protect

you warm hands green eyes
spark gold twilight dust at your
feet the dead will rise

The Yaran-i-Iran or “Friends in Iran,” also known as the “Baháí Seven,” are Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi,
Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saed Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm. Former unofficial leaders of the Baháí Faith in Iran, the Yaran served ten-year prison sentences for their beliefs. Mahvash, Fariba, and Afif were arrested again in July, 2022. In December of that year, Mahvash and Fariba were sentenced to a further ten years in prison.

A Place Called Empathy

The Scholar and The Activist

Previously published by Ligeia Magazine

one day I was watching a rabbit eating grass
on the verge across the way when a young
stranger came creeping speaking

softly to the rabbit she scooped it up in her
arms and disappeared behind a gate
I sipped my tea and waited

she reappeared stooped and pulled
great handfuls of grass back behind the gate
and away she went her hands still

stained with green as she left she paused
wiping a hand on her jeans she looked up at me
what passed between us then I really couldn’t say

Nasturtium Messages

Evin Prison, Tehran

Previously published by Ligeia Magazine

Evin is a prison in Tehran, Iran. The prison ward descriptions are largely drawn from Roxana Saberi’s memoir, Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran (HarperCollins, 2011). “once in the heart of winter a woman called out to us in
greeting” is adapted from a line in Mahvash Sabet’s poem, “And This is Where I Stand Sometimes,” in Prison Poems, adapted by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani (George Ronald, 2013), p. 17. Sections of Nasturtium Messages appear in my essay “Feeling into Empathic Poetry… Through the Prison Poems of Mahvash Sabet,” New Writing (6 June 2022), https://doi.org/10.1080/14790726.2022.2076886.