from “Tales of a Severed Head”


And you
you the shadow of yourself
you who move forward like a horse
head on one side and body on the other,
who see one half of the sea
and don’t stop searching for the other,
who put your eyes in your mouth
your mouth in a bottle
the bottle in the sea
and the whole sea in a cigarette.
You seated on a rock the whole sea
rolling in smoke
into your chest.
You become sea horse for an evening
                                                 for a night,
become sea horse so that there will be
                                                                  no more night
so that there will be no more mornings to
                                                                     ask yourself
on what rock to rest your head,
in what dust to place your feet
and no other mornings to ask yourself
"And today…?".
You on your rock
with no more grass to smoke
and crying for a lost ocean
and scraping a shard of seashell
                                          with your nails
to find a scrap of noise in it.
You suddenly become fragile again
a man again
become the pauper you used to be
with your memories of orphanages
with your stock of cigarette-butts
listen to what my mouth pronounces.

Rachida Madani.