Skip to content
For literary responses to COVID-19 from writers around the world, check out our Voices from the Pandemic series.
from the June 2005 issue


Your cooing wears me out at night—
so wear me out. Like wine in the odes, you go on cooing
and leave me what moves horses
to tears,
what weighs birds down with more wings,
what singing follows
Your coo is a cradle
kept from rocking
cornered by absence.
Is the tree of the heart enough
If our wind was shattered and we too were shattered with the wind?
Is the tree of the heart made of our blood,
or mirage? A question seduces me shooting star by shooting star
a flower a flower or two numb upon my arm
as dawn steals blue to bathe the dew
so I see it. And for this question, the gazelle,
and what binds us in the nets of the answer
—and so the sky won't be confined—
I'll release a flock of stray doves and open the towers of my spirit for
the day to come- So if your cooing drowns me,
let me drown—
and if you wake me up I'll leave a crack of dream open
and sleep

A cell in the Palestine division, 1987


“Cooing” by Faraj Bayrakdar. © Faraj Bayraqdar. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2005 by The New York Translation Collective. All rights reserved.

Read more from the June 2005 issue
Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.