Beirut, August 1982
I wish he hadn't died
the one who died in Wednesday's raid
He was limping down Nazlet elBeir
like those who come from the rivers in Northern Iraq
Patiently . . . like an "insane" mother
war was spinning her wool that summer
as it is now!
Some song on the radio begins: "O Beir"
and it fills the house
my father's house in Karameh
or maybe his house before that in Beit Jala
the one I never find when I visit there.
O what the songs didn't tell us!
A narrow street
in the poor suburbs of war
neglected by all
things save summer and fighter jets
while the young man from Northern Iraq
who thought I was a Moroccan from the countryside
was limping in his death . . .
blond . . .
not made any fainter by the lighthouse
or the memories.
The Massachusetts Review Fall / Winter 2011
Fall / Winter 2011
Copyright © 2011 by Ghassan Zaqtan
Translation copyright © 2011 by Fady Joudah
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission