Water aches

Painting by Dr Jamal BadwanPainting by Dr Jamal Badwan

Water aches

by Iqbal Tamimi


When I dozed off 

locusts of darkness

invaded my arteries:

blocking the sun,

releasing my paralysis.


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Rain-swept fields eroded;

thin, desiccate scraps of parchment thirst scattered;

silence fled to the graveyard.


You were content with

observing the signals flashing

between eyes of salt and

coquettish sugary confections.

Polished lips, 

circles of hatred,

hovered like buzzards above them.


How could I curtain my window

where distances were separated from the joints of ecstasy

hiding its heavy shadow in suspicion’s bed?


I squeezed the grapes of wild despair

but failed to produce a stream of wine;

nor did my feeble drops manage to wake those

who lay sleeping through the drought.

My cloud passes through each text

Pleading for rain through the cracked clay …

O my poem!


defraud me!

I might be able to pass through a needle’s eye, 

shielded by sand.

The word’s giant keeps poking my patience

with his letters’ crooked staff,

trying to dislodge the fortune-teller

from the shoulders of my prayer.


I have been burdened

carrying the pains of water;

this season has not miscarried its winter.

His palm, drenched with melting despair,

calloused by hunger,

informs me …

How can I

redeem the sobbing seasons

and how can I scaffold my martyred sighs?

First published on The Hyper Texts journal of poetry

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