Inaya Jaber

Opening to something undefined,
your startled gesture
is a painting's first stroke,
the likeness
of a gesture in ancient myth.
And it is the absence of movement sometimes,
a startling flash on the horizon,
A reproach brushed aside
to east and west,
conjuring a great stone pine.
Before, your gesture
was a matchless shimmering,
but desire exchanged it for
a gesture without shelter,
guilty, constricted breathing.
A naked offering in my hands,
and then I'm busy
and you don't look back. 
That you close your door
You won't find a rock
to shut out the light of the moon;
that you close your door,
I won't forget,
that I am alone
than a stalk of grass.
If you don't open this clay essence
I'll leave
running deranged,
buoyed up 
by the thronging winds.  
No one's there for me

The world worsens and
no one's there for me
which is why I won't go at nine
or  twelve.
I have papers to put in order,
decisions to make
Still, I dress 
and tell myself
that it's only a mistake, a straying of the mind,
caressing an impossible skin,
inhaling its perfume. 

Dusting the freckles off my shoulders

I always listen.
I accept every season, don't lock the door
and I dream of a white esplanade
next to the sea.
A shoe with its lace undone 
and gusts of wind
threatening my wide skirt and my hat
and when the top of my strap
it doesn't bother me;
it lessens the burden
as I dust the freckles
off my shoulders. 

Translated from the Arabic by Camilo-Gomez-Rivas from the author's collection 'Still I'm busy', ['Thumma Innani Mashghula'], Riad El-Rayyes Books, Beirut, 2000.
 Reprinted from Banipal No 12

Read More: