A Grave I’m about To Dig
translated from the Arabic by Robyn Creswell
As I return home with a dead bird in my hand, a little grave
I’m about to dig waits for us in the backyard.
No blood on the washed feathers, two outspread wings,
and a dewdrop (some concentrate of spirit?) on its beak, as if
it had flown for many days while actually dead.
Its fall was fated in the Lord’s eyes, heavy and diagonal in
front of mine.
I’m the one who left my country back there to go for a walk
in this forest, holding a dead bird whose absence the flock
returning home for a funeral that might have been a solemn
one were it not for the sneakers on my feet.
From THE THRESHOLD: POEMS by Iman Mersal. Translation and Introduction copyright © 2022 by Robyn Creswell. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. All Rights Reserved.