Spring 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2000 |

The Collapse of the Two-Rivers Hotel

Translated from Arabic by Khaled Mattawa The desert is not far from it and when the date palms sway into its rooms they become dusty like the water of the nearby river and the old pipes. Its three floors were built of gypsum and lime. The windows of thick English glass open to the garden bar and boats. Maybe the drive to here is shorter if you take the turn to the right ... Maybe you would think: How beautiful these gardens are here. In the Two-Rivers Hotel we loved and gambled and learned how to maneuver around the poisonous liquors served in its rooms. One day we married and came back after the years reeled us. We came dragging our children to show them its gardens and we were worn by what we carried. We did not know about the gypsum and the lime ... We did not feel the water dripping ... and the roof ... Ah, after the years reeled us we came back dragging our children to show them its gardens and we were worn by what we carried. July 25, 1974

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Khaled Mattawa currently teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan. He is the author of four books of poetry and a critical study of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Mattawa has coedited two anthologies of Arab American literature and translated many volumes of contemporary Arabic poetry. His awards include the Academy of American Poets Fellowship Prize, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He is the current editor of Michigan Quarterly Review.

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Translated from Arabic by Khaled Mattawa The desert is not far from it and when the date palms sway into its rooms they become dusty like the water of the […]

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