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A revolution on the tip of my mouth

In my sleep I saw a stranger’s finger

push against my teeth

I heard the sound they made as

they fell one by one

 

The Arabs say

If you saw teeth falling to the ground that is death

If it was the front teeth it would stop you from

doing anything or speaking

And if all the teeth fell away your family

will perish and you will survive them

 

I woke up to find my mouth full of caves

I screamed but infinity sucked my broken scream

I uttered words but my language was lost to the stones

I said I don’t mind

I shall be leaving with an empty mouth

but with a full heart

 

I went out and saw my name drowning

and calling out for help

I extended my hand to him

But the wind rebuked me

No doubt you need a new name for a new era

In which book pages are all white

Our rivers are dyed with our thoughts

Revolution is a large shoe

And our feet are small

 

My family are afloat on their backs

waving their way into oblivion

 

My father is hanging from the peg of absence

his golden tooth shrouded by the darkness of history

Smiling as if life was only a joke

 

Our laughs fell

and the joke became heavy

 

I prepared to mourn him

When eloquence jumped into the boat of fear

and was followed by the fledglings of hidden meaning

 

I wanted to say one thing

Or even half a thing, like: what if

“what if my father was alive”

But my father kept dying on top of his death

 

I became a tree on a river bank

My roots cut off

My memories blue

I dreamt of my dreams

falling out of my mouth

forming sand pits at the river’s bed

The Arabs moved and left me with no language or meanings

 

Ancient wars left and others never happened

They left after their teeth too fell away

And were told they had neither

bread nor blood in this place

One was eaten and the other curdled

 

This is the world whose skies were raised

whose mountains erected

whose children revolted for justice

look at it

here it is going by grieving over bridges

that were never built but in its own imagination

its mountains lying flat on their stomachs

its children making the purring sounds

of a sown cork tree

 

There is no one but me left on the river bank

A tree cut off from a tree

countless generations have passed me by

until the paintings from the walls of my mouth

Jumped out

 

I remembered a word from the stagnant past

 

And was about to utter it

 

I was almost about to utter a third of it

 

I will probably not utter it

 

It was probably a mere thought

 

The world turned its neck around

giant bodies prepared to get up

and my wet name with its big head

looked over me

 

since then

since thousands of years

I hear a long creek

And the sound

Of the worlds falling teeth.

Translated by Adam Zuabi

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