by Faleeha Hassan
During moments I yearned for forests grown for me alone,
Caressing them in a dream,
I could sense the throbbing of the heart
Hidden beneath my ribs to bless my journey.
Summoning me with a pulse that he recognizes in me.
I heard the noise of abandoned smoke from a moment of care
Join with me,
Forcefully traversing desires to the hidden-most one.
My spirit swung toward him,
Creating a tingling
On lips that devour breaths alive.
I felt ashamed,
But the eye,
In moments—I scarcely know what to call them—that took me on another route
Toward the television, saw warplanes . . . spray death on them.
At that moment,
The fire of machine guns raked all the bodies,
And another fire raked my body when I trained my eye on him
Hesitantly inclining his head
Toward a shoulder unaccustomed to the secret of the stars of war
Or to insomnia.
Oh . . . . I leaned on it!
And when he caressed a dumbfounded person
I felt his fingers like coiling embers inside me.
Bashfulness seized the excuse this caress gave . . . and vanished,
Eliminating distance till the two of us were one.
And the eye—he moaned: May love not forgive her the eye—repeated another evasion
Toward a drizzle of men flung about in the air by just the rustling of a pilot penetrating a building
To fall on screens as the debris of breaking news.
But his breaths . . . shattering the still down of the cheek,
And turning their picture into mist as
Eddies of the screen’s corpses . . . varieties of death that they brought them.
The spirit that became a body,
The body that was sold for the sake of a touch,
The eye that was concealed in his image
And that approached the firebrand of conflagrations.
Everyone drawing close to everyone,
But the thunder of their machine guns splintered them:
Corpses piled on corpses,
I mean on me,
The eyes of those in it were extinguished.
They slept in a trench of silence.
My eyes’ lids parted in a wakefulness obsessed with them.
I rose … and embraced the chill
That the screens brought me in commemoration of Stalingrad.
Translated by William Hutchins