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.