Nacira Mohammedi
Two Poems

STAY AWHILE

Perhaps one snowy day
our eyes will meet
Even continents may unite some day
You have been the mountain and the opium
You have always been the distances of silence
and I have been the forests of pain
You have been the poetry, the face of the future
and you have played a part in my suffering
You have been the sin I wanted to commit
On the strings of your name
I tremble like a tear
like the smile I force
from your face
O you with the gypsy eyes
You who run
from my love . . . from my weariness
Stay awhile
Maybe the lines will connect
and I’ll hear your pulse, sir
I long for your eyes
I long for your body
dilapidated as an old building
I yearn for you
with fierce tenderness
and luscious torment
Your orange notebook
Your brown briefcase
The maze of wrinkles on your face
which I so want to kiss
Your hands – will they ever come near me?
How I’ll suffer if I discover
that they’re like my grandfather’s oppressive sword
Will they ever come near me?
Will they ever?


August 3, 1992

DESERT WIDOW

Time speaks
and memory catches fire
telling of souls taking root
in the kingdom of astonishment
of poetry dying
on a widow’s lips
of a woman abandoned
by the city’s starry dreams
Snow surrounds her
encloses her aimless evenings
a widow who lives off her own blood
her blossoming body
the pellets of memory tucked into her clothes
her fingertips blaze with feeling
with the light of a dying kiss
a widow touching her breast
exhaling into the flute of pain
her long sigh
Eyes pass her by
Barren is the earth
without poetry
without rhyme
What a lover you were
desert widow
final kiss of the gypsy
what a lover you were!


Translated by Seema Atalla

from the author’s collection Ghajariyya [Gypsy Woman],
Rabitat Kuttab al-Ikhtilaf, Algiers, 2000