Stones that sprouted legs
By Iqbal Tamimi
Written for the memory of my Iraqi colleague
Atwar Bahjat who was killed while reporting from Iraq.
The bed of defeat has always been feminine.
Ever since the sky was within reach
a woman fluffing a wombless vanilla pillow
has given birth to scandals.
The thorns took advantage,
climbing the shoulders of the bare peach,
stealing the bride
whose perfume never swirled in the wind.
The apple went mad,
glued in his grief
to the fingers of his land.
Stripping off his desire
He shouted, cried,
“I’ve perfected banging water drums
because my share of plight is exactly like yours,
although my teardrops
could quench hatred’s fire.”
We all perfected the game
attacking the features of things.
We dallied with the nails of our jailer
who bought the East
sometimes with prayers,
at other times
with a convoy of female slaves.
The knight of the mountains
has been collecting our wounds
to sprinkle them on a heap of dew.
He waited a long time
until the stones sprouted legs,
chasing the mud groom
who tested the virginity of the heavens,
bearing his imported season
on the shoulders of winter.
I screamed into his shirt,
“Rescue me please, from this cold body.
My circle has been defeated by armies of frost,
chased by eagles of dust.
Toss your body
against the ink lorry,
Drown your sorrow in a cup of coffee or . . .
die standing up like a wall:
defend the hymen of the thyme;
defend a wagon
ready to load the victims of terror.
document your defeat . . . if you choose
on a sobbing poem.
For a lilac became a naked martyr in becoming a trembling pavement for a camera crew.”