what will be left of you? withered leaves and a couple of skins
you shed in a serpent-like manner? dead wormwood stalks?
ambrosia buds? greek gods had a taste for that weed
but gods’ meat is woman’s poison gods are not us
the ragweed breeds allergy (a surgical mask as a chador)
and the dead leaves get noisy amidst the nights of delirium
what will be left of me? You took everything quite away
and all knaves of hearts’ mischief compared to that is a boyish parody
though what’s being left of us all: symbols, memories or just lies?
of jesus – the cross, of van gogh – sunflowers, of hugo – quasimodo
and of the world — the bones of all those who were driven by God
onto this earth under these skies into this adventure



translation into English by Viacheslav Stelmakh




To Asmaa Azaizeh


a couple of sand grains strewn to the desert’s grounds

a couple of sun rays to what is already clear

how fares your palestine? when will it let you go?

how fares your heart amidst the strange and the alien?

i’m muddling up words. languages. in the evenings

i read that Lord’s love’s parceled out by abraham’s children

out rolls the spring on a camel laden with gifts

green turns the cover and contents of your koran –

sort of a book devised by an ancient poet:

a peculiar one. books resemble the poets’ regrets

a few questions and dreams and a bit of humour

but as it often happens it’s been misread


translation into English by Viacheslav Stelmakh




July has left behind a few magnetic storms,

And you have left me with a few new neuroses.

I knead August to make it rise whole, just as

I knead space on trails by hiking strange trajectories;

I follow recipes and find my joy in baking—

This, then, is my being, my clear sooth.

Whatever barkhan is shaped by a lonely wind,

Sand and desert are ever-menacing, ever the same.

So gather your scarabs and jackals, pick up any girl

And break off some of your improper compassion.

May you be completely lucky, may your August succeed

In making your fingers sticky like persimmons once did.

rendered into American English by Padma J. Thornlyre





A book by Kafka supports the absurdity of recent fortnights.

Unfinished glasses of wine support last night’s celebration.

It’s a bit hard to look into the eyes of truth, the fictions of writers,

When our own story lies like a wrinkled blanket at first sunlight.


“To the future!” you say, raising your glass and nodding to the window,

Which frames, with its squares, ellipses of muteness and space;

And x-rays can’t show, for whatever long, irritating reason,

Why a soul stands on end. If you’re smart, you will guess this.


And what does it need? Why can it not stay still in windows or blankets?

And why does it hide a boatman’s oars at rest, in fog?

The prospects fly off the eyes like a hungry bird from opening hands,

And tomorrow will hold neither silence, nor Kafka, nor bird, any longer.

rendered into American English by Padma J. Thornlyre




Here, in latitudes lying north of you,

The golden fall packs the horizon

Like a tin stowing sprats; we stay up late

(And judging the stretch of our legs, we ourselves have longitude).

I read the newspaper for every Zodiac sign,

Finding mostly no difference on weekdays.

Easier to ask the stars themselves; instantly, their laughter

Fills this room and those of my nearby neighbors.

And how is my desert? Has the sand dried out at last? —

Clawing into the ground should not be rocket-science.

Here, having jammed my satellite link-ups to you,

Pigeons wing into the sky like prayers offered to God.





Hanging ikebana over your table—cranes emigrating to foreign

Lands and distant seashores—will win over the heart of me.

How will you benefit? Ducks wave, as they have been taught,

And outside, an obedient street kisses the heels of someone.

This late fall, my darling, brings a virus, a cough and a bitter sky

Snidely rubbing my nose in the bouquet of everyday mistakes.

A duck will clutch a star only to share its prey with some guy;

It will fly to the East, its chador barely covering its face.

I’ve surrendered to my path and am devoted, like all wanderers:

Two suitcases, red-eye transfers, a cup of cheap tea with no sugar.

Just imagine this. There is a crane in the sky. Can you see it?

Be mature. Wave to the crane. Wish it well:

“Bon voyage… Bon voyage … Bon voyage!”


rendered into American English by Padma J. Thornlyre

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