Ghassan Zaqtan

1954 / Beit Jala / Palestine

He Wasn'T Sleeping

There's a helpless woman in his sleep
a recluse woman preoccupied with simple thoughts
and needless accessories

A woman who enters his room when he dozes off
she stares at his heart
exactly there, his heart,
then takes a flower out of the vase
before he wakes to count the flowers missing one

Whenever he dozes off he finds himself roving
in endless arches
and roads in watercolor
affixed to the intimate scent of a woman's absence
as if he were strolling
in the memories of the missing flowers

at five thirty AM
she stood behind the glass
and stared at his eyes

and he wasn't sleeping.
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