Emad Fouad

Translated by: Mona Zaki

They all desired her
making themselves sick with ploys
he who could not touch her with his hands
imagined her
and he who was rejected by her disregard
took revenge on her body – circling inside his head like a scorpion –
between the legs of another

Her fingers
ten threads wrapped as she swayed in her walk
the image of contentment when she smiled
the goddess of command when pleased
translucent when touched by the sun
vibrant like a loaf of bread
her fingers
safeguarding the essence of the feminine
from the mine of time
tending her sheep
without a staff

she felt the eyes on her swaying uplifted buttocks
a heavy gait
those who wanted her
turn their heads
to glance at the bounce of her full bosom
cutting through the hearts like the tip of a knife
as if what bounces in her long garment
were a god
dispensing where he pleases – his justice
and when angry
the lady of the house
opening her mouth she taught the girls
blushing like a teenager her innocent face
betrayed by
blatant sweat
as if throughout her entire life
she did not turn
in the arms of men
as if the years has passed by
had sealed her chastity between her legs
like a beauty spot

The gypsy
the merchant of happiness
buying, selling
cross-legged in her solid seat
with spiced coffee
rolling her hashish cigarette
her beautiful girls surrounding her
all what she learned from the bodies of men
from their crying like women in her warm embrace
from their pretend cruelty between her legs
letting out a scream from her shivering lips
they came back hanging on to her like a treasure
in their long night

What she forcibly gulped down
what she drank with the pleasure of the queen bee
what was revealed
what was hidden
she bestowed on them generously
in love I own a thousand feddans
your lands – remain – a wasteland.
I was a child, she said
my breast rounded like oranges
wherever I stepped
I would hear a jingle
as if my ankle were a horse-shoe
my eye, like an owl, lined with divine kohl
the women in the neighbourhood ask God for refuge
from the smell of camphor in my breasts
hiding me from the gaze
my shadow preceeded my steps
my gaze is weaker – in God’s gaze – than
a spider’s web

They watched her curiously
shivering like pigeons with no feathers
respecting her moody silence
watching the letters
as they formed on her lips slowly
listening with childlike expectation
to the sound of her breathing
aware of her head nodded, in silence
she beckons to them with a broken eye:
You are God’s mercy on this earth
don’t be haughty!

The son of our neighbour, she’d say:
would pull my hair from beneath the head scarf
throw me underneath him
behind the wheat in my father’s field
my breasts like two apricots hardened up
I had lust
opening my legs unaware
but he – the criminal –
placed his hand to rub my wetness
searched for my nipples with his mouth
the idiot was pleased with what he could get
leaving me like a rag
I tell you girls honestly
I’ve lived my whole life
searching for the pleasure that was given to me
with no avail.

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