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Man's Song

Sideways,

I glimpsed your face drawn on the trunk of a palm

and saw the sun, black in your hands.

I tied my longing to that tree and carried night in a basket

                                                                carried the whole city

and scattered myself before your eyes.

                                                Then I saw your face hungry like a child's.

I circled it with invocations

and above it I sprinked jasmine buds.

Woman's Song

Sideways,

I caught sight of his old man's face

robbed by days and sorrows.

he came to me holding his green jars to his chest

rushing to the last supper.

Each jar was a bay

and a wedding held for a harbor and a boat

where days and shores drown

where seagulls probe their past and sailors divine the future.

He came to me hungry and I stretched my love toward him,

a loaf of bread, a glass cup, and a bed.

I opened the doors to wind and sun

and shared with him the last supper.

Man's Song / Woman's Song

Khaled Mattawa, translation from
the Arabic written by Adonis

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