Featured Poem

The Room of Darkness


la nuit seule dans ma voix
— Jean Senac

I am from darkness, my
homeland is an aging butterfly
my prayers are the desert.

          *

I wash in rain’s spit,
in my prayers the sun
dances tip-toe.

          *

My god on the brink of a death.
He the echo’s infra-violet.
He is a storm
that loves to talk.

          *

I was born with a genetic defect,
one of twins: I
and solitude.
I shall give you all a sad heart,
a burst eye, a foot
with twenty toes
and other limbs left me
by my friend Time.

          *

My father budded between sheets
of pouring rain, between
two moments of silence
from the widowed sky.

When I accepted him as a father
he made me paper angels
that I can beat easy
at hide-and-seek.

          *

My father was the first volcano on earth
and our balcony axis of the swirling rain
at the beginning of a feast day.
Our balcony was a rowboat of tears
sometimes sunk in childish clamour.
Our balcony: a life that left  the city
and settled in a tub of imagination
...
...
In our new home
there is no balcony

          *

I saw new accessories
worn by the earth
and I saw houses shed their doors
to disassociate themselves
from loved ones parting.

          *

I saw cities abandon their inhabitants,
the train lines creaking
on their back
and weeping the river to bid farewell.

          *

I feel blood vagrant
in my veins
I feel washrooms playing cards
atop my lighthouse head.

          *

Words need someone
to scrub them with soap,
need looser clothes
and a stranger who won’t demand they smile.

          *

In light
I see the darkness I see my god
I see time
I see you
...
...

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About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Poet:
Mona Kareem
Translator:
Robin Moger
Original language:
Arabic
Issue:
2017 Number 2 - A Blossom Shroud

About the author

Original poet

Mona Kareem

MONA KAREEM is a poet-writer-translator based in New York. She is the author of three poetry collections. Her translations inc...

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Translator

Robin Moger

ROBIN MOGER is a freelance translator of Arabic with a particular interest in twentieth-century and contemporary prose and poe...

» Read more

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