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from the September 2012 issue

The Nights Passing Endlessly through Scheherazade’s Mouth

In a public park
where I like to sit
in the thick shade cast by the branches of a tree
I was more or less enjoying the daytime
I was watching grass sprout from cracks in the asphalt
and the sun as it shone in the faces passing by
as I pondered the meaning of the murder taking place
in the nights passing endlessly though Scheherazade's mouth
when a fortune-teller woman approached me
and asked permission
to illuminate my fate
from my life's dark mirrors
Staring in silence
at her sly eyes
I must have been lost in thought a long time
When I looked up
she had moved away from me, quickening her
steps like the nights passing endlessly through Scheherazade's mouth
These steps
like bells hung round the necks of people strolling by
rang out in an unhearable voice
These steps
as if celebrating the sprouting of grass
from cracks in the asphalt
shone with an unseeable light
Right then
I wanted to know
if that fortune-teller woman could find out
what even God and Satan can't divine—humanity's desires,
ever since we've strolled in public gardens
more or less enjoying the daytime
watching the sun from endless passings of night
as the grass rings from our shining steps
2004, Kurtuluş Park, Ankara
Published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi [London], 24 May 2004, p. 16. © Exmetjan Osman. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2012 by Joshua L. Freeman. All rights reserved.
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