Nothing More to Lose

By: Najwan Darwish

desolation

 

Lay your head on my chest and listen

to the layers of ruins

behind the madrasah of Saladin

hear the houses sliced open

in the village of Lifta

hear the wrecked mill, the lessons and reading

on the mosque’s ground floor

hear the balcony lights

go out for the very last time

on the heights of Wadi Salib

hear the crowds drag their feet

and hear them returning

hear the bodies as they’re thrown, listen

to their breathing on the bed

of the Sea of Galilee

listen like a fish

in a lake guarded by an angel

hear the tales of the villagers, embroidered

like kaffiyehs in the poems

hear the singers growing old

hear their ageless voices

hear the women of Nazareth

as they cross the meadow

hear the camel driver

who never stops tormenting me

Hear it

and let us, together, remember

then let us, together forget

all that we have heard

Lay your head on my chest:

I’m listening to the dirt

I’m listening to the grass

as it splits through my skin . . .

We lost our heads in love

and have nothing more to lose

 

(Najwan Darwish (1978) is one of the foremost Arabic-language poets of his generation.  This poem has been translated from the Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid)

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