A Damascene Lover in the Time of War

By 
Gebran Saad

The bullet that made a hole in the
windowsill of 
your family’s home
carried my red kiss 
to you;
come,
the earth has grown smaller,
and the wagons are transporting the violets far away.
The presser, 
who smoothed out the wrinkles
in your shirt, 
and in my skirt,
with the embers of his iron
was killed yesterday
by a stray shell 
on the sidewalk.
Even the taxi driver,
who used to drive us every Thursday
afternoon
To the Arch of Tenderness
in the “Bab Touma” neighborhood,
has emigrated, 
and took with him
the loud songs 
in his cassette recorder, 
and the blue-eye stickers
on his windshield
to ward off the evil eye.
Come, then, 
and give me a date
between two explosions,
or two bullets;
heed not my hijab,
bearded Christian,
just think of my lips
and of the golden halo
above the head of Damascus.
Two Syrian strangers are we 
in this world,
without a Christ,
save for kisses...
 
Translated from Arabic by Fawaz Azem

This poem appeared in Al Jadid, Vol. 21, No. 73 (2017).

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