Mohammed Khaïr Eddine

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Love letter to angels
who do not listen

It is from the depth of the hibiscus carrying the world on its fingers
and bare to the waist, the bow drawn towards your voice;

it is from the depth of the space enclosed in my eyes
without butterfly, without rose, fogged up by your eyes…
Ah! It is from the depth of a crepuscular sky

(Deplorable, lying on a bench of cerastes,
teeth eaten away by light-years);
it is from the depth of broken mirrors that I see you

being born in an emulsion of red and green across this feverish sahara…
Here the silk moth makes its threads burst out

Neither the ripe date, Sun, it is you who taunts
this sea… nor the spoiled milk that consumes us
nor the cavalcade that explodes beneath your nerves,
horse neighing from quasars’ smile…
nothing, here, that holds back my hopples
your very pure fingers, your irreparable fingers!

Paths bordering Time drawn
in our disgrace. Hunched men stepping
out of themselves… I invite you
to the feast upon their carrion.
Bring thyme, soldanella! Bring
your laughter…

At midnight on my skull, your red and black boughs
and lice! Lice from sniggering ancestors…

At midnight, the flute, the rifle and the arrow,
and anger and silence and the dull gong
lining my memory with numerous rapes.

Absent body, wrecker of the corpses that break
the bloodthirsty peoples under your toes…
stoking in your eye a world sprouting
under the weight of desire, under the weight of canopic urns,
you who do not laugh and do not cry and do not strike out.

Desert on my scaly face, sharp wrinkle
of my soul on the harrowed back of the seas…
Convulsion held back by the spider’s thread…
I move forward in the verve of a graveyard,
panner of darkness, master of moons struck
to death.

Translated from French by Hugo Cantin, revised by Catherine Nock
First published in Dérives 31-32, Voix maghrébines (Montreal, 1982), pp. 34-35

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