Even the river wishes it would dry up

ALAA HASANIN – Translated by:Ibrahim Al-Sharif

Every evening the night puts its soft hand in mine
and cries, shivering like a little child,
and I listen
to the night that is crying
because the morning always leaves
before it can get to it.
The night says, with overwhelming sadness:
morning seems like a dream
I hear the sound of its footsteps every night
leaving through the hallway
and when I wake up, it’s not there.
The night also says about the stars: they’re not florescent bugs
they are the tears of those who committed suicide in their youth.
In my youth I thought of becoming a star
because I tend to get depressed
because the night doesn’t lull the shiver of sadness in my heart
because I’m like one wounded in war, I die and wake
because I dream, when I stand in front of the day,
of my body floating above it,
but one of my friends calls
and I go back to party wildly inside.
I remember, sometimes, a woman in black and white
that looks like a glimmer above the bridge
the river talks about her as well
about that light in her eyes
and her desire to live long.
She wanted to try to arrive, the river says,
that’s why she her corpse float.
The river has many banks
and sometimes you can only arrive dead.
The river thinks no one listens to it
but I see it, in evenings muddled with drowning,
coming out of its depths, shivering,
leaving traces of its wet footsteps above the grass.
Even the river wishes it would dry up
and that someone would be waiting for it
when it comes back, feverish,
and to carry it like a child to its bed
or to its grave.
The river dreams of a casket to smile in
and a congregation of thirsty people to follow its funeral procession.
I hear a bit of crying at times
and I say: maybe the river is crying, like a lost wolf,
and I would go out, some evenings, looking for it,
my heart a lantern about to go out,
and I see it, hiding naked amongst the large trees
and I ask the river about its mother, about the way to its home.
At first, I thought she was a star that the night left behind, the river says,
but she was my mother, and she looked like a glimmer above the bridge
and I tried to hug her one night, but she started floating above the bridge.
Every evening I go home feeling sad
thinking about the river, about the mothers that glimmer above bridges
and I fall asleep on the stairs or on a wooden chair
and when I wake up sometimes
the city is not there,
the night has been gone for a long time,
the river that likes to change its course, or its form,
runs away to the bushes, shaking its tail
and I visualise my warm blood spilled by the doorstep.
One scene and the world ends, a final scene.
But a grey woman glimmers sometimes in my dreams
draws me towards the shade,
shuts the drawers on the kitchen knives
and gives me a green heart that autumn has left behind.
And I’m about to say:
I dream of a grey woman
that glimmers in my dreams,
but I fall asleep on the stairs
and sometimes I wake up in my bed.


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