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URGENT MAIL TO BADR SHAKER AL SAYAB

URGENT MAIL TO BADR SHAKER AL SAYAB

 

Good evening, Badr.
Today we inquired about you in school,
We asked the doorman, the stone benches, the small courtyard, and the finches,
We were shaking from fear from the desolation of the place,
So we lifted up our eyes praying for your safety.
On the school benches we didn’t say a word,
But we took advantage of the silence in the art classroom
To draw the ice on our fingertips.
Can you believe that some of us drew you without eyes,
And some borrowed the pigeon feathers between your temples
To catch the sound of vision
In the distance you walked between the river and ashes.
When we returned, we found Wafikah crying,
Her hair was hanging so low through the window bars that it took on the color of grass:
Badr’s mother died; she died at dawn.
We froze on our benches, but a song like this
Appeased our distress.
Our thin bodies extended,
and dissolved completely into the trunks of palm trees.

Along the row of angels glued to the chenashil of Chalabi's daughter,
We grew wings
Out of God’s womb
And on them
In Kufic gold
Shone your eyes that we forgot to paint
On radiant forests.

At sunset,
We would listen,
For as long as suffering lasted,
To the songs of your illustrious boat
Ascending the grass inside the window dream.

 

© Translation: 2018, Norddine Zouitni
First published on Poetry International, 2018