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This poem is taken from PN Review 184, Volume 35 Number 2, November - December 2008.

July 12, 2006 (translated by Marilyn Hacker) Vénus Khoury-Ghata


The flock of broom-bushes grazing on cold grass belongs to no one.
The shepherd and the pear tree struck down by apathy scrutinise the bad slope of the hill
the first one to turn away will catch fire and set summer ablaze
and it's not the rags of paupered clouds that will put out the flames
nor the tears of the man who made an appointment with a wolf
to have a man-to-man talk
and break him like a twig across his knee.


*
for Jean-Max Tixier

It sometimes happens that the solitary house follows a muddy path
and needs a horse and its fleshiness to dig out its walls
unable to get up
the expected guest makes a detour around the tree to reach the doorstep
he enters right foot first
waves a greeting with his left hand
strikes a match
draws a fire in the hearth
you are my flame he says to the first flame
...


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