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This poem is taken from PN Review 233, Volume 43 Number 3, January - February 2017.

The Mothers & the Mediterranean

translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker
Vénus Khoury-Ghata
Destroy everything cried the mothers from their high
     balconies
wring the streetlights’ necks
make the trees eat dust
dismember the ladder the doll the spider’s hammock
The children will play with the Sea
they will learn addition from the corpses piled on the
     sidewalks
subtraction from decapitated trees

                                        *

An eye plucked up from the dust for a pistachio ice
     cream cone for a glass of hibiscus juice –
the merchant on the Corniche trades in everything
     that can be bought and sold

Tanks crossed the Mediterranean
The mothers called the dead and the children to come
     in before the bombardments
...


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