For Samira al-Khalil
Her voice descends lightly
Down the steps of the dungeon, and she still lies in pain
In the interrogation room.
And I descend lightly,
That blanket carried by two
Who go astray.
Am I in it, or is she?
What lies in my body revives her weary voice;
What lies in her voice revives my weary body.
What revives fire?
She was not a condition or a description,
But I call her by many names.
The echo has their wings fluttering around me:
A name does not confine its bearer even if desired
But the place…
Confined in the torture rooms of Palestine Division,
So did it confine her.
Or those women or men, together
The plain of Duma, free, with eyelids defeated,
Her voice comes.
I see several doves
As if once upon a time.
I see several clouds.
Her voice comes,
As if, oh time, Syria, a dream and a people, will live.
Oh time, she will live.
Samira al-Khalil is a Syrian dissident and former political prisoner. She was detained for a period of four years, from 1987-1991, for opposing the Assad regime. On December 9, 2013, she was kidnapped by a militant, Islamist brigade in the city of Duma near Damascus. There are several indications that Jaysh al-Islam is responsible for her kidnapping, along with three other activists working in the Center for Documenting Violations in Syria. They are Razan Zeituna, Wa’il Hammada, and Nadhim Hammadi. Four years have passed since their kidnapping without any news.
Translated from Arabic by Shareah Taleghani
This poem appeared in Al Jadid, Vol. 22, No. 74, 2018.
© Copyright 2018 AL JADID MAGAZINE