Spring 2010 • Vol. XXXII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2010 |


Like a broken-hearted falcon, like a toothless storm, I will lean on the edge of the city and block with my back the arrows that friends fling at me. I will remember my grandmother's long pipe and I will not fantasize about the Arabs' great conquests and I will not think that Paris is a stable for our horses and I will not weep over the Pyrenees as they melt in your hands like a block of ice and I will not roll the sleeves of my caftan toward God to honor al-Ghafiqi.1 When the parade of the kings of Banu Ahmar2 floats past my feet, I will not force my eyelids to return a greeting. I will remember the sword and the leather rug. I will remember the bribes of gold and silver. I will remember hunger on desert plains. I will remember the brigands and stags that came to drink from my wounded palm. All this while I lean on the edge of the city brokenhearted like a falcon, uprooted like a storm. Notes 1. Abdul Rahman al-Ghafiqi is an Andalusian Muslim general who led his troops int

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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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