Maram al Massri

1962 / Lattakia, Syria


How foolish:
Whenever my heart
hears a knocking,
it opens its doors.

Desire preoccupies me
and my eyes shine.
I stuff morals
in the nearest drawer.
I switch into a devil
and blindfold my angels
for a kiss

Women like me
do not know how to speak.
A word remains in their throats
like a thorn
they choose to swallow.
Women like me
know nothing except weeping,
impossible weeping
like a severed artery.
Women like me
receive blows
and do not dare return them.
They shake with anger;
they subdue it.
Like a lion in a cage
women like me
dream . . .
of freedom . . .

I killed my father
that night
or the other day -
I don't remember.
I go escaping with a suitcase
filled with dreams
and amnesia,
and a picture of me
with him
when I was young
and when he carried me
on his forearm.

I buried my father
in a beautiful shell
in a deep ocean,
but he found me
hiding under the bed
shaking with fear
and loneliness

He wanted
no more than this:
a house, children
and a wife
who loves him.
But he woke up one day
and found that his spirit
had grown old.

She wants
not more than this:
a house and children
and a husband who loves her.
She woke up
one day
and found
that her spirit
had opened a window
and fled.

He came to me
disguised in the body of a man
and I paid him no attention.
He told me
'Open up.
I am the holy ghost.'
I feared disobeying him
and I let him kiss me.
He uncovered
my shy breasts
with his gaze
and turned me into
a beautiful woman.
Then he blew his spirit
into my body,
thunder and lightning.
And I believed.

Like grains of salt
they shone
then melted.
This is how they disappeared
those men
who did not love me.

Translated by Khaled Mattawa
149 Total read