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How to find the mother when her face disappeared behind the hills

How to find the mother when her face disappeared behind the hills
leaving us a body without contours
two packets of cold for the armpits
white grass for the pubis
 
Gone off with her friend the fire
she spoke to us in flares and sparks from behind the hill’s shoulder
her voice become brambles loose stones broom bush
if a storm broke she collapsed in soot
 
whole nights spent down on the floor sniffing a sketch of her
looking out for her rages in lightning
lips split by sun and frost
 
we called the mother till the closing of the last field 
 
© Vénus Khoury-Ghata. By arrangement with the author. Translation  © 2012 by Marilyn Hacker. All rights reserved.