The dead await me on the curb by Moroccan poet Abderrahim El-Khassar

 

Abderrahim el Khassar ALT
Abderrahim el-Khassar

When the night descends on my house
I will brew it chamomile tea
Or bitter black coffee
I will tell it a story of love and discard
I will turn the music up
Then I will leave for the cemetery
To spend time with the dead.
The dead
Have left their confined places
And sit waiting for me on the curb
I will walk barefoot on their ground
And with my cold hands, I will caress every grave.
The dead
Are anxious tonight
The severe Autumn was not followed by rain
No one visits them anymore
The grass stopped growing on their abode.

I wear despair like a boutonniere,
Then I solemnly walk to the cemetery.
Near the deteriorating mud wall
And under a neglected sad streetlamp
I will recite love poems
And sing an old song
Whose water still flows in my rivers.
We will chat late
We will hold hands to ward off the darkness
We will sing and dance then return to our beds
To our long silence.
I will stop by tomorrow, my dead friends
I, too, live in another grave
Not far from this cemetery.

Translated by Mbarek Sryfi
msryfi@sas.upenn.edu