Tariq al Haydar: The Cave

Abdullah Hamas, “Construction”, 1998. Source: f7hopesart.wordpress.com

Every year, on the 19th of Ramadan, Aisha would pack some clothes and food and head out to the mountains on the outskirts of the village of Dhuha. She would sit in one particular cave, think about her place in the universe, and attempt to purify her heart. Jealousy was never an emotion she struggled with. Even when Omar, whom she had hoped to marry, proposed to her neighbor, she felt no resentment. As painful as it was, she prayed for their happiness.

What attracted her to Omar was the kindness of his heart. Once, he noticed a bird near the trunk of a tree, and for some reason its mother would not come down from its perch. Maybe it had no way of helping its offspring. Perhaps it was afraid of people. In any case, Omar would come every day, feed it seeds, and help it drink from a saucer of water. He would cup the creature gently in his palms and extend it towards the mother bird, hoping it would fly. But it never did. When it died, he dug a small hole for it by the tree trunk and buried it. She spied him wiping his eyes, and prayed that he would father her children. When that hope evaporated, she accepted it and endured her disappointment.

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I Saw a Man Hugging a Fridge: Twelve Poems by Youssef Rakha in Robin Moger’s Translation

HAITI. Gonaives. 1994. U.S. invasion.

Alex Webb, Gonaives, Haiti, US invasion, 1994. Source: magnumphotos.com

First song of autumn

 

Joy of my days, come

watch me run

I’ve bought white shoes

and see-through eagle’s wings

I am the clarinet’s mouth

and you the ransomed player

Kneel and guzzle me, set

the sea’s taste in my throat

and make my breast a wave

upon whose mane the sun

sows jewels

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