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  In Celebration of Inclined to Speak: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye
 
 
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Mahmoud Darwish

IX.
In Exodus
I Love You More

Translated by Fady Joudah

In exodus I love you more, soon
you will lock up the city. I have no heart in your hands, no
road carries me, and in exodus I love you more.
There’s no milk for our balcony’s pomegranates after your breasts.  The palm trees
are lighter. The weight of the hills is lighter, and the streets are lighter at dusk.
And the earth is lighter as it bids its earth farewell. And the words are lighter,
the stories lighter on the staircase of the night. But my heart is heavy.
Leave it here around your house howling and lamenting the beautiful time,
my heart is my only country, and in exodus I love you more.
I empty the soul of the last words: I love you more.
In departure the butterflies lead our souls, in departure
we recall the shirt button we lost, and forget
the crown of our days, recall the fermented apricot scent, and forget
the horse dance in our wedding nights, in departure
we are the equals of birds, we pity our days, and the little that is enough for us.
Your golden dagger making my murdered heart dance is enough for me.
So kill me, slowly, that I may say: I love you more than what
I said before this exodus. I love you. Nothing hurts me.
Not the air, and not the water…There is no basil in your morning, no
iris in your evening that hurts me after this departure…

 

Excerpted from IF I WERE ANOTHER by Mahmoud Darwish, translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah, to be published in November by Farrar, Straus, and Grioux, LLC. Translation Copyright © 2009 by Fady Joudah. All rights Reserved. CAUTION: Users are warned that the Work appearing herein is protected under copyright laws and reproduction of the text, in any form for distribution is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the Work via any medium must be secured with the copyright owner.