Abbas Beydoun
Abbas Beydoun
Two Poems

THE MAIL OF STEPS

In the smallest room
there’s a flicker of light.
Your steps chase me to here
and my hearing follows them like a dog.
I listen
until I lose their tracks among the roads.
I turn over my hand.
I try to make a secret out of my fingers.
I close my eyes.
I try to make with my furrowed face a climate
or bread or a mask.
I swim under my own breathing.
Your steps resemble silence.

Like a sprinkling of flour on asphalt
the sellers carry them with their voices,
the lorries take them until they disappear.
They are my mail
and you’ll have none of them
except this echo
as you take off your dress
where there’ll be no foot steps
slowing by your door.



SILENCE AND BLOOD

Hair brushed and combed,
and a vase without flowers.
Little life remains
in the bottle of water left open
since yesterday.
The fabric is black
and is never peeled off her shoulders.
There is more silence than blood
in this throat.

I didn’t say anything.
Leave me out of your nail clipping.
I forgot a bit of soap behind the ears.
But surely
you didn’t forget to tidy up
a single thread
of your clothes
even as you hurried away.

You stare
and there is no fear that a book will go up in flames
or that the drink in this glass
will become stronger.
There was only the march of these eyelashes
and the strength of their stone
as they pass by me
and pass by others.
There was no mirror of tears,
but a burning tapestry.
No rain.
but triangles of silk
that dry out with little noise.
And your gaze that never flutters,
taut, accented syllables.

Translated by Khaled Mattawa

Selected from the author’s collection
Ashiqa’a Nadamuna, Dar an-Nahar, Beirut, 1993