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

The House after Her Death

Translated from Arabic by Khaled Mattawa   Nothing has changed after my mother's death. Her portraits are still youthful. My four sisters are still intent on keeping the day tied to its three stalwart rituals: coffee in the mornings, ginger at midday, mint in the evenings. At my family's home you do not need a watch. The scent will tell you the sun's place in the sky. Nothing has changed in that house since my mother's death. My sisters' hands keep busy tidying up the rooms their five brothers have left for other rooms in which their souls will never rest. They no longer sleep on mattresses spread on the floor, no longer shiver like addicts while they wait for their morning tea and bread. After my mother's death, nothing has changed in the house. When we look at Kawthar, our oldest sister, intent on keeping even small things whole, we begin to think that our mother hasn't left the house she built, sigh by sigh, in a white coffin and a body eaten bit by bit by cancer

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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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Lampoon

By Amjad Nasser, translated by Khaled Mattawa

Translated from Arabic by Khaled Mattawa   Nothing has changed after my mother's death. Her portraits are still youthful. My four sisters are still intent on keeping the day tied […]

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