Parole Hearing

Idra Novey
After Mahmoud Darwish
And they searched her voice, heard the lurch of a bus into the deep muck of a field.

And they searched the bus, saw the guts of its vinyl seats.

And they searched the guts, smelled the steel springs rusting.

And they searched the rust, tasted nothing but the tips of their thumbs.

And touching their thumbs to their lips they said well in another three years.

More by Idra Novey

Translator’s Confession, 3 a.m.

Dear C, I dropped

your sentence in hot water.
I talked to the boil. I said Here

is my thumb for you to burn.

Here is the soft heart
of my hand and my arm and

the nape of my wreck.

I said vapor, just take me.
I’m done burning

with these pages. Being invisible
doesn’t mean a person

won’t blister, doesn’t mean

the blisters won’t fill
with pockets of water

or when lanced the rawest flesh

won’t emerge. First the word
then the murky leak

begins—what another mind
may scrape against

but never skin.

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Searchers

We gave our dogs a button to sniff,
or a tissue, and they bounded off
confident in their training,
in the power of their senses
to re-create the body,

but after eighteen hours in rubble
where even steel was pulverized
they curled on themselves
and stared up at us
and in their soft huge eyes
we saw mirrored the longing for death:

then we had to beg a stranger
to be a victim and crouch
behind a girder, and let the dogs
discover him and tug him
proudly, with suppressed yaps,
back to Command and the rows
of empty triage tables.

But who will hide from us?
Who will keep digging for us
here in the cloud of ashes?