A Poem by Iman Mersal
One day I will pass in front of the house
that was mine for years
and try not to measure how far it is from my friends’ homes.
The plump widow whose cries for love woke me
is no longer my neighbor.
I will invent things so not to get confused.
Count my steps,
or bite my lower lip delighting in the slight pain,
or keep my fingers busy with tearing a whole packet
of paper tissues.
I will not try short cuts
to avoid the pain.
I will not stop myself from loitering
as I train my teeth to chew on hate
that leaps from within.
And to forgive
the cold hands that pushed me toward it,
I will remember
that I did not smudge the bathroom’s whiteness
with my own darkness.
No doubt, things elude me.
The wall itself did not enter my dreams.
I did not imagine a color of paint
to match the scene’s tragic lighting.
This house was my home for years.
It wasn’t a student hostel
where I would leave an evening gown
on a nail behind the door
or paste old pictures with temporary glue.
The romantic sentences
I extracted from Love in the Time of Cholera
must be jumbled up now
making an altogether comic text.
Translated by: Khaled Mattawa