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This poem is taken from PN Review 245, Volume 45 Number 3, January - February 2019.

Exile (translated by André Naffis-Sahely)
translated from Tuareg, via French, by André Naffis-Sahely
Exile wears away at me, a stalk in a sandstorm
Spells of vertigo, the nausea of withdrawal
a rag waving in the wind
along the tent pegs of desert encampments
The perfume of nostalgia makes me suffocate
like a child carried by the ebb and flow of the waves
The sun shrivels my heart
My eyes are burnt by the look of strangeness
grimaces of ghosts
Worries have carved rivers in my temples
and brow, the marks of life,
like the wrinkles on an old watermelon
along the path of the caravan
which links Ghadamis to Timbuktu
My memories are frozen in the mirages of time
Today, thousands upon thousands of steps to take

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