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from the March 2016 issue

Anatomy of the Rose

When the rose perceived the distance
between itself and the earth,
it brought forth its thorns.

When the rose realized
that a single leg
couldn’t take it anywhere,
that it was voiceless
and mostly had no echo,
it thought of fragrance.

The blooming petals: a navel.
The stem: a rope that binds it
to the earth’s deep womb.
That rose will be born someday
in a lover’s hand
or between the shores of a book.

© Soukaina Habiballah. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2016 by Kareem Abu-Zeid. All rights reserved.

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