Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Poetry

A Butterfly in New York

By Sinan Antoon
Translated from Arabic by Sinan Antoon
Its wings two leaves / falling from heaven

I chased it so often
in our Baghdad garden
But it would always fly away
Today
Three decades later
In another continent
It perched on my shoulder
Blue
Like the sea’s thoughts
Or the tears of a dying angel
Its wings two leaves
falling from heaven
Why now?
Does it know
that I no longer run
after butterflies?
Just watch them in silence
That I live
Like a broken branch 

© Sinan Antoon. From Lalyn Wahidun fi Kull al-Mudun (One Night in All Cities) (Baghdad & Beirut: Dar al-Jamal, 2010). By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Sinan Antoon. All rights reserved. 

English

I chased it so often
in our Baghdad garden
But it would always fly away
Today
Three decades later
In another continent
It perched on my shoulder
Blue
Like the sea’s thoughts
Or the tears of a dying angel
Its wings two leaves
falling from heaven
Why now?
Does it know
that I no longer run
after butterflies?
Just watch them in silence
That I live
Like a broken branch 

© Sinan Antoon. From Lalyn Wahidun fi Kull al-Mudun (One Night in All Cities) (Baghdad & Beirut: Dar al-Jamal, 2010). By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Sinan Antoon. All rights reserved. 

Read Next

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]