Ghassan Zaqtan

1954 / Beit Jala / Palestine

He Thought Long Of Going Back There

He thought of going back there
where he had left her listening
in a blue shirt and short sleeves

There was a man crossing the street without looking
whereas his infidelities were behind him stumbling like a heap
of obese women, whereas he was going down the three steps
careful not to bump into the pampered flower pot

He thought long of going back
where he had left her listening
with honey eyes and a cloven heart

A few boys were swinging intensely
from the peach tree he has no memory of
while he was trying, in vain, to discern the steps
and move the bougainvillea pot out of the way

When, suddenly, the bell rang
the ancient bell on the hill
the hill which, since that night, the bougainvillea has covered,
that night when the eleven brothers killed
their only sister.
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