Skip to content
Give readers a window on the world. Click to donate.
from the November 2006 issue

My City’s Ceiling Is Too Tight

I am now overflowing
beyond my name, beyond my body
and going out of my details
to the pain of place
while my heart is as cool as a cloud,
a lonely female.
As for my hands, they protect my heart
from an imminent pain
and offer my life as a sacrifice
for a moment of neutrality
or for a journey to it.
My poetry is deficient
it does not explain the female within me
but may slightly explain the exile
and the night crowded with dreams
that shine in the dark.

My city's ceiling is too tight for its body
and my body is too tight for me
and I don't find inner peace
hanging in my closet so that I may wear it
Perhaps it preferred to go on a long trip
rather than commit suicide with a roar
next to old friends
Perhaps it died as a result of a wound in the chest
or perhaps it died a self-inflicted death
Perhaps we have never met.
But it is dreams that practice deception professionally
in response to a host of questions.

My city is a cage of concrete
which becomes smaller every day
whenever we increase by one baby
or as we get accustomed to our earliest tight size
and fraternize with weeping.
Space surprises us
when steel subjugates it again and again
and yet it becomes tighter.
Why does it not take sides in favor of the souls
being killed in it by the stifled horizon
in the wide open sky?

I walk on the tips of my heart
in accordance with the evening's wishes
Part of the night is disturbed by life's quivering
and part of me surrenders my steps
to the blowing wind.

O my city . . . Be a little larger
so that I may see my shadow free
on the sidewalks

My city, be larger
so that I may not see my shadow
with no freedom-like me.
Sufficient is the death of one of us by suffocation
in search of a breath of air
between two windows of concrete.

For Hala Shurouf's "Lady Who Does Not Resemble Me," please click here.

Read more from the November 2006 issue
Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.