Ghassan Zaqtan

1954 / Beit Jala / Palestine

Additions To The Past

The letters in the widow's room
In the straw basket
On the bed purged of sleep
In the intention to fast which lurks
In the air of the corridor.

The vegetables, normally purchased in the morning
The tickets,
The dawn bus on a Thursday
The pillows
The candles
The forbearance…, where holy phrases are
Gaudily etched
In the carvings

The edge of the cupboard from the crack of the door
The door itself… where the assembled hymns
Flutter like kerchiefs on the darkness of the plain.

The shadow of the air
The novel she has not returned to the shelf,
She cannot remember!
Its heroes fall dead to the ground
She sweeps them up
One after the other
With her broom, her reproaches and her prayers

The letters remain unopened
The dead
Return through the crack of the door
To steal the flower vase
The orange sheet
And the covers
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