Parwana Amiri is an author, poet and activist from Afghanistan who is living in Greece since September 2019. Her poetry may seem softly written, but it contains hidden stories and bitter truths.

This poem is a direct reflection of her nights, her days, and her time in an effort to change her life for the better. She is not the only person, the only young girl or the only youth, who experiences these scenes and will the expectations she may have from society there is no support in her side, but instead many question marks on her.

Illustration by Alexandra Nikolova (Ål Nik)

Tired but still writing. Her poems, her letters. But she is not alone – it is not only the moon and stars that watch over her work. In the darkness of the night, there are countless eyes as well that melt into the unknown.

Don’t look at me like that!

Don’t look at me like that!

I am not sad! I am not mad!

I am not bad! I am just tired!!

I need some more days to rest

Some more nights to sleep

Some more freedom to dream


I don’t want to sleep late

Be the owl of midnight

I don’t want to collapse on the table

Upon my books, without a blanket

One hand open under my cheek

The other closed tight around my pen

Writing even without seeing

Writing, in vain, our truth


I am very young

But my soul is very old

Don’t look at me like that

I am not sad! I am not mad!

I am not bad! I am just tired