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Dead

the mother looked like the linden tree in the square
like the wood of the table on which she wrote our faces
like the log that didn’t sweat or complain about the smoke
dead
she began to avoid us
turned her back to the mirror to the moon to the skylight
less dead
she would say that the moon was a loaf of bread baked between two stones
 
A moon doesn’t fill a bread-box
doesn’t plug up the cracks in the sink
doesn’t sweep the crumbs of quarrels under the table
doesn’t lengthen the swallow’s hair
the moon was more of a moon during her lifetime
the foxes who recognized her by her smell didn’t light their matches
 
Dead
the mother was divided up between three holes 
 
© Vénus Khoury-Ghata. By arrangement with the author. Translation  © 2012 by Marilyn Hacker. All rights reserved.