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Poetry

Untitled

By Nasser Rabah
Translated from Arabic by Emna Zghal, Khaled al-Hilli & Ammiel Alcalay
Palestinian writer Nasser Rabah pens a poem of longing, retreat, and stolen dreams.
Image of the moon on a salted paper print
John Adams Whipple, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

They leave without turning the moon of longing off behind them,
without shutting the door overlooking the dew of the steps they’d taken,
they don’t drink water to know how to return to water, they head
towards an evening leaning its face against the hand of absence, lucid
about the business of leaving, and overcome by tears. They are
statues of flesh and blood, frowning, smiling . . . however we want to see
them. They tear their dreams down, put ours on, and sneak away, 
leaving heaps of seed on the traps of memory, for the birds of
our nagging wish to blame, not looking behind, they sneak away
from a time and take shade in another, where no eyes smile or cry.

                                                                                                            November 2023

© 2023 by Nasser Rabah. Translation © by Ammiel Alcalay, Khaled al-Hilli, and Emna Zghal. All rights reserved.

English Arabic (Original)

They leave without turning the moon of longing off behind them,
without shutting the door overlooking the dew of the steps they’d taken,
they don’t drink water to know how to return to water, they head
towards an evening leaning its face against the hand of absence, lucid
about the business of leaving, and overcome by tears. They are
statues of flesh and blood, frowning, smiling . . . however we want to see
them. They tear their dreams down, put ours on, and sneak away, 
leaving heaps of seed on the traps of memory, for the birds of
our nagging wish to blame, not looking behind, they sneak away
from a time and take shade in another, where no eyes smile or cry.

                                                                                                            November 2023

غادروا، لم يطفئوا خلفَهمْ قمرَ الحنينِ، لم يُغلقوا باباً يُطلُّ على ندى خطواتِهم، لم يشربوا ماءً ليعرفوا كيفَ الرجوعُ إلى المياه، إلى مساءٍ يسندُ وجهَهُ بيدِ الغيابِ، واضحينَ في الحكايةِ غادروا، غائمينَ في الدموع. تماثيلَ من لحمٍ ودمٍ، عابسين، مبتسمين..كيفَما شئنا نراهم. مزّقوا أحلامَهم، وارتدوا أحلامَنا، غادروا، تاركين حَبّاً وافراً لفخاخِ الذكرياتِ، لطيورِ رغبتِنا اللَّحوحةِ في العتابِ، لَم ينظروا خلفهم، غادروا وقتاً، واستظلّوا بآخرَ، حيث لا أعينَ تضحكُ ثَمَّ، ولا بكاء.
 

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