You gave then took them back

From the Palestinian-American poet and physician Fady Joudah (1971-).

“Travel Document”

It must be like forgetting how to die:
Your grass-grown ruins,
Stonewalls, sadness without eyes.
The body puts on its phantom
Limbs’ pain as true account
Of what happens, and a woman
Who’s worn the wrong size
Shoes, all her life in flight, her toes
Now crooked, calls flowers by names
You gave then took them back.

If it’s the body you want, there is the body
That couldn’t return, there is the one
That wouldn’t. Sullen
Vengeance. An egg’s
Invisible axis rising and sinking
In boiling water, salt
As measure for pickling olives,
Hands without echo’s desire
To be heard. Tell me, what else
Is there to say about land?


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