A ruthless catalog of sorrows:
years in front of the screen, diplomas before jobs,
and languages—all that torture—now ranged under Languages.
Where are all the wasted days? And the nights
of walking with hands stretched out
and the visions that crept over the walls?
Where are the feelings of guilt
and the sudden sadness faced with a little hill of fruit
atop a handcart in some forgotten street?
Years with no mention of the empty hours or the funerals,
expunged of black depressions and nibbled nails,
the house keys forgotten inside the house.
There isn’t a single open window
and no trace of the desire, deferred, to leap out.
A life overstuffed with accomplishments,
scrubbed free of dirt:
proof that the one who lived it
has cut all ties to the earth.
Copyright © 2022, translation by Robyn Creswell, from the Arabic of Iman Mersal, The Threshold, Farrar, Straus and Giroux