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Check out our February feature of folktales from the Qatari oral tradition.
from the November 2005 issue

Paints and Smears

Her house in the middle of spring.
Ribbons in girls' hair, a smell of starch.
The wind distributes words, puffs out curtains.
The house is on flowery fire, a sparkling stream.

How many times has she crossed the point of silence,
the blue zone? Mid-spring reflected in water
and the house is divided into frames.
The sky releases paints and smears, the sun landing

upon pillows. Yes, it might be summer, its blues
getting hotter and hotter. Meanwhile the world's
axis is like a flawed crystal, the silence like walls
surrounding the orchard*Š And when the crystal cracks,

a heat wave will bury everything with its parts
and parcels. Does she feel the point's pulse?
But there are ribbons, curtains. A child closes
the year's gate and laughingly runs toward its parents.

And why this shadow upon the man's face,
why darkling blue in the woman's eyes?
The house is the middle of spring. The sun on pillows.
A hand leaves a shining stave across the water.

For the next poem in this sequence, click here.

Read more from the November 2005 issue
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