•  
  • Ghassan Zaqtan

  • Translated from Arabic by Fady Joudah

  • DAMASCUS 1986

  •  
  • The key’s clang
  • the sun I called from the windowsill
  • the brief time of fondness
  • none of it were mine
  •  
  • This cramped morning
  • sprinkled over the neighbor’s garden
  • from the edge of the pillow
  • isn’t mine
  •  
  • It wasn’t mine
  • that laugh of the girl who gleamed behind the vase
  • in air
  •  
  • There had to be a hand picking jasmine nearby
  •  
  • If only our neighbor would turn off the radio
  • I could hear
  • how water breaks over her hands as she washes . . .
  •  
  • I would have opened the window
  • I would have turned off the lights

GHASSAN ZAQTAN is a Palestinian writer living in Ramallah. He is the author of ten collections of poetry and two novellas, and has twice been nominated for the Neustadt Prize. The Silence That Remains (Copper Canyon Press) is his most recent book to appear in English.

FADY JOUDAH is a Palestinian-American poet and physician. He is the 2007 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition for his collection The Earth in the Attic. His translation of Ghassan Zaqtan’s Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me won the Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2013. Joudah lives with his family in Houston, where he works as a physician of internal medicine.


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