Let’s give the earth sufficient time to recite
the whole truth ...
The whole truth about us.
The whole truth about you.
In tombs you build
the dead lie sleeping.
Over bridges you
file the newly slain.
There are spirits who light up the night like fireflies.
There are spirits who come at dawn to sip tea with you,
as peaceful as the day your guns mowed them down.
O, you who are guests in our land,
please leave a few chairs empty
for your hosts to sit and ponder
the conditions for peace
in your treaty with the dead.
Excerpt from “Speech of the Red Indian”
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
By Abid Agha
A cup of coffee sits before me,
Dark and aromatic foam on top,
But the chair across from me remains empty.
Soft notes of Kenny G play gently,
Stirring emotions, leaving me lonely.
December’s cold gusts blow outside,
Snowflakes fall, covering the street,
Tapping against the café’s window,
Blurring the glow of swinging street lamps,
Creating a smoky, dampened scene.
Suddenly, I recall your words,
You once said, as December gusts blow,
When snowflakes kiss your face, fast and slow,
Wait for me at Café Prague,
I shall return,
Join me for a cup of coffee,
Feel the gentle touch of snowflakes.
The wind howls, the snowflakes dance,
Pounding against the restaurant’s glass,
But you don’t appear, the chair is bare,
My eyes locked on the doorway there,
Hope fading with each passing glance.
By Amna Ameer
The plates are always placed in sets
The quarter on the right
And the deep dish on the left
Each spoon and fork
Must be no less than a dozen
The food must be simmering
And the bread must be round
The whole table should be spotless
And there shouldn’t be a scratch
All smiles should be present
And all pleasantries queued
It should all be picture perfect
No tear should leave a trace
No worry should surface
The ones that are forbidden to speak
Should be left for the gate keepers to keep
The truth must never be seeked
Under the rug must lay every insecurity
There’s no place to talk about hypocrisy
Just pour some more water and swallow your misery
Nothing should give it away
How you’ve wanted to leave this place
But you see death approaching
And you watch its shadow lurking
So you see what is happening
The garden has been ambushed
And no flower buds here
The one who stays must let go of feelings
Only then can they keep this image alive
No one will dry your tears
Or wonder why when they mention death
You no longer cry
Compiled by SK