In Saadi Shirazi’s Garden (When He Was a Prisoner)

The river flows. Guides hide in the woods. I am a single day dragging an apocalypse of days. Wounded battalions smelling the burning air through the dried blood on the nose. Because the city of water is not far. It is there.

The rose orchard is there and there is a golden cup of poison guarded by an angel’s hands.

The river gestures from a distance with the shut eyes of an intoxicated concubine and so on until it reaches its end in its own dream. 

But from the wall to the branch
From the chain to the horizons
With my lips I can read
better than a blind man
The shriek that has illuminated kingdoms with its sword
This sign for which my chains bleed 

From Sargon Boulus, Idha Kunta Na’iman fi Markab Nuh (If You Were Asleep on Noah’s Ark) (Cologne: Dar al-Jamal, 1998). © Sargon Boulus. By arrangement with the publisher. Translation © 2013 by Sinan Antoon. All rights reserved.