Mahmoud Darwish

Country: Palestinian Territory, Occupied
Language(s): Arabic
She Didn’t Come

She didn’t come. I said: And she won’t… so
let me rearrange the evening with what suits my failure
and her absence:
I put out the flame of her candles,
I turned on the electric lights,
drank her wine then broke the glass
and switched the music: from the swift elegant
necktie (to relax more) and put on
my blue pajama. I could walk barefoot
if I want. And sit cross-legged, sagging
on her sofa, to forget her
and forget all the things of absence.
Then I put back in the drawers what I had prepared
for our party. I opened the windows and pulled back the curtains.
I stood in front of the night, my body holding no secret
other than what I waited for and lost…
and I mocked my obsession with purifying the air for her
(I had sprayed rose and lemon water).
She won’t come… I will move the orchid
I will cover up the mirror with a coat, I don’t want to see
her radiant image… and add to my regret.
I said: Forget what you have chosen for her
of ancient love lines, she doesn’t even deserve
a plagiarized poem…
Then I forgot her, ate my quick meal standing,
and read a chapter in a school book
about our distant planets,
and wrote, to overlook her harm, a poem,
this poem.

Translated by Fady Joudah