Damascene Alley

By Nizar Kabbani

... I roam the narrow alleys of Damascus
while hazel eyes awaken behind the windows
and greet me.
The stars put on their golden bracelets
and greet me.
The doves alight from their towers
and greet me.
The clean Damascene cats,
who were born, grew up, and were married alongside us,
come out to greet me.

Excerpt from Nizar Kabbani’s long poem “Ablution with Rose Water and Jasmine.” Translated from the Arabic by Ghada Alatrash

This poem appears in Al Jadid, Vol. 17, no. 64

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