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Her apron drawn on her skin

the mother sent us out in the street naked
Walnut husks served us for ink
Fences we’d jumped were the pages we leafed through
Euphoria in the evening when she multiplied her arms
two to embrace us
two to push us away and
make sure we had the same number of smiles and tears
How to tell her with no punctuation about the transparent toes of the children whose 
   paths we crossed
the women all red on the inside
the dogs blue at the corners of their mouths as if they had bitten into
   the sky bitten God
How to make her admit that there were three of us in times of famine
Six when the rain spread mirrors on the asphalt and
we would make faces so as not to recognize ourselves 
 
© Vénus Khoury-Ghata. By arrangement with the author. Translation  © 2012 by Marilyn Hacker. All rights reserved.