Hayden's Ferry Review


She Writes Her Destiny & Dies by Yousef el Qedra

translated by Yasmin Snounu, Edward Morin & George Khoury [ed. note: this translation can be found, along with many others in HFR53]

She Writes Her Destiny & Dies

translated from the Arabic

The cloud has begun with quietly smiling

drowsiness. It opens the window

of extension on a song made of rivers

and forests taking place in a novel

written by a woman who lives on a mountain;

her house is made of sugarcane flutes,

and sweet stories of suffering with lovers

whom she kisses off. And she was alone

looking at their pictures during glowing

nights, resequencing them as she pleased.

The cloud goes into a quietly smiling

sleep; it opens the lusty dream about

details envisioned by a soul that practices

running after someone in the gloom

of desire and of brutality.

It phases into absences that are

from eternity that does not begin.

And Resurrection as it dozes is

just a weak light that touches its own blood.

Languages ooze sweat that floods from

their fingers; they experience wounds

that lived in them during vintage dreams.

It smelts their breathing into a map

it is going to draw during a future

wakefulness. For she woke up frightened

by the dew that was frozen by

the cold of its collapsing height.

The cloud wakes up after a sleep bothered

with a past that rivers and forests

bring to life. It shoots arrows into the air

which is about to lose its neutrality.

And the writer closes her notebook

upon the sounds of rain from one cloud;

that cloud bumps the ceiling of its stories;

it pants towards a meaning for a life

that passed like lightning. It dresses up

in normal attire and goes towards the market,

walking the streets in a normal way

without attracting anyone’s attention;

and it forgets her name written on

a book displayed for readers who lose

the ability to read its destiny.

It passes without its senses being

aware of what its memory wrote.

It does not try to think of its book’s

title, whose choice exhausted her.

It dies on the pavement, and someone

holding a tattered newspaper passes by,

covers her smiling face, and goes away.