Monday, August 06, 2007

We Are Not Dead
For Kadhim Kaitan

To no avail the doves cooing—
Our delights are cellars
And our time is ash.
We go, every sunset, to the river
Carrying the coffins of our days'
Polishing our teardrops
And shrouding our fears.

We are not dead.
We still have the tearful embrace
Of sacrifice.
We compose our features,
Bandage our calendars,
Our disappointments,
Under a spider's tent,
We still have the right
To conquer the city with kisses.

We return to our hospitals
Lighting lamps of regret
And reciting our elegies.
Our lifetimes are paper boats
Pushed to the waves by the hand of a trifling child
Where, fold after fold,
The sea takes our dreams
And wraps them in weeping.
Our lifetimes are withered leaves
That launched an attack on the sun
And fell in flames.
The fire now licks at our names,
Sewn together with splinters.

Munthir Abdul-Hur
translated from the Arabic by Sadek Mohammed

Atlanta Review
Spring / Summer 2007

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