Skip to content

The Chaldean Ruins

he emerges from its belly to the grave.
His days are not entered on the calendar
and he does not gather the things that are scattered.
Earthquakes do not shake him nor wink at death without him.
Was he born before the earth
or after her wails?
A wind blew by
and did not shake the tree.
They said: It was no wind
but his sighing.
He is the unsettled Chaldean
and it was no tree
but the elongated roots of his village.
Dried out
he releases water into the fields
then brays on the hill
and during the day he is content with darkness.
exile squeezes him
and discards his rind
to the skyscrapers.
he lights a candle before the Virgin
perhaps she will shift the borders to him
Hallelujah . . . Hallelujah.
He celebrates the coming of his sheep
and holds a vigil at their graves
until morning comes.
he turns the mountains between his hands
searching for a speck of homeland.
Far from his tent
he tightens the ropes
and accumulates like sand
in distant countries.
in a can, he writes on his forehead
and feels that the word "ruins"
is enough to refer to
what has happened
or what remains.

Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.