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from the February 2012 issue: International Graphic Novels: Volume VI

Dead

Morte

the mother looked like the linden tree in the square
like the wood of the table on which she wrote our faces
like the log that didn’t sweat or complain about the smoke
dead
she began to avoid us
turned her back to the mirror to the moon to the skylight
less dead
she would say that the moon was a loaf of bread baked between two stones
 
A moon doesn’t fill a bread-box
doesn’t plug up the cracks in the sink
doesn’t sweep the crumbs of quarrels under the table
doesn’t lengthen the swallow’s hair
the moon was more of a moon during her lifetime
the foxes who recognized her by her smell didn’t light their matches
 
Dead
the mother was divided up between three holes 
 
© Vénus Khoury-Ghata. By arrangement with the author. Translation  © 2012 by Marilyn Hacker. All rights reserved. 
 

Morte

Morte
La mère ressemblait au tilleul de la place
Au bois de la table sur laquelle elle écrivait nos visages
A la bûche qui ne transpkait pas ni ne se plaignait de sa fumée
Morte
Elle se mit à nous éviter
Tourna le dos au miroir à la lune à la lucarne
Moins morte
Elle disait la lune pain cuit entre deux pierres
      
Une lune ne remplit pas une huche
Ne colmate pas les fissures de 1'évier
Ne balaie pas les miettes des disputes sous la table
N'allonge pas les cheveux de 1'hirondelle
La lune était plus lune de son vivant
Les renards qui la reconnaissaient au flak retenaient leurs allumettes
  
Morte
La mère fut répartie entre trois trous
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