Ghassan Zaqtan

1954 / Beit Jala / Palestine

Remembering The Grandmother

Pretexts come with her absence
and with the waiting of boats between
noon and afternoon
when the light is deeply fissured
and the satisfied prisoners, our grandmothers
in the plains, comb the sleep of hills
then age in their fissured sleep

We haven't seen the sea
but we can be certain, after the rosary prayers,
it's behind the line of hills,
says the girl who sweeps the courtyard

When I remembered
. . . when we had come up to the lighthouse
you lit a fire and kept me warm.
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