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Tablets III

 

Modern Poetry in Translation

Tablets III

 

1

FEATURED POEM

Tablets III

1

Like the turtle,
I walk everywhere
with my home on my back.

2

The mirror on the wall
doesn’t show any of the faces
that used to pass
in front of it.

3

The dead
act like the moon:
they leave the earth behind
and move away.

4

Oh, little ants,
how you move forward
without looking back.
If I could only borrow your steps
for five minutes.

5

All of us are autumn leaves
ready to fall at any time.

6

The spider makes a home outside itself.
It doesn’t call it exile.

7

Forgotten
the faces of the dead
as if we met them once
through revolving doors.

8

I am not a pigeon
to know my way home.

9

Just like that,
they packed our green years
to feed a hungry sheep.

10

Of course you can’t see the word love.
I wrote it on water.

11

When the moon is full
it looks like a zero.
Life is round
at the end.

12

The grandfather left the country with one suitcase.
The father left with empty hands.
The son left with no hands.

13

No, I am not bored of you.
The moon, too, comes every day.

14

She drew her pain:
a colourful stone
settled deep inside the sea.
The fish pass it by,
they can’t touch it.

15

She was safe
inside her mother’s belly.

16

The lanterns know the value of night
and they are more patient
than the stars.
They stay until morning.

17

Those colourful flowers
over the mass graves
are the dead’s last words.

18

The Earth is so simple,
you can explain it with a tear or a laugh.
The Earth is so complicated,
you need a tear or a laugh
in order to explain it.

19

The number you see now
will inevitably change
with the next dice roll.
Life won’t show its faces
all at once.

20

I love you
as a singular
even though I use the plural,
both the regular and irregular plurals.

21

The sweet moment is over.
I spent an hour
thinking of that moment.

22

The butterfly brings pollen,
with its little feet, and flies away.
The flower can’t follow it.
Therefore its leaves flutter,
and its crown is wet
with tears.

23

Some of our tribal members
died in war.
Some died regular deaths.
None of them died from joy.

24

That woman standing in the public square
is made of copper.
She’s not for sale.

Poet:
Dunya Mikhail
Translator:
Dunya Mikhail
Original language:
Arabic
Issue:
2017 Number 2 – A Blossom Shroud

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Original poet

Dunya Mikhail

DUNYA MIKHAIL was born in Iraq and left for the United States in 1996.

Her books include The Iraqi Nights, Diary of A Wave Ou…

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