Now that the streets are empty and you press a compass to your chest

Let’s wind down National Poetry Month with this poem by Nathalie Handal (1969-). Her border-crossing life (she’s French-American, was born in Haiti to a Palestinian family and has lived around the world) emerges in her collection Poet in Andalucía, which explores otherness and togetherness so beautifully.

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“Now That”

Ahora que está tan sola la soledad
Joaquín Sabina, “Ahora que”

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Now that we’ve counted
the seasons for exile
and stopped wondering
if it’s us or the birds who weep

Now that the canvas is wet
and paint drips on our bodies
now that we have crossed
the borders of hearts
and know what’s real
now that disappearance
can’t be understood after all

Now that we stay in bed
and I lay you out inside of me
now that the streets are empty
and you press a compass to your chest
stack a sorrow after a wound
and measure the map of want

Now that two people run inside of you
one searching for its lost head
while the other watches
now that we have learned
to love each other
the way we are told we should

Now that I say goodbye
and write about leaving
I feel alive
now that nothing is urgent
and everything is here
now that waiting keeps us away
from a forest of thorns

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One thought on “Now that the streets are empty and you press a compass to your chest

  1. Powerful!! Thank you for a wonderful month of poetry.

    On Sun, Apr 29, 2018 at 7:01 AM live in the layers wrote:

    > Natalie Jabbar posted: “Let’s wind down National Poetry Month with this > poem by Nathalie Handal (1969-). Her border-crossing life (she’s > French-American, was born in Haiti to a Palestinian family and has lived > around the world) emerges in her collection Poet in Andalucía, which ” >

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