At the Door of a Lonely Heart

Abboud al Jabiri


I am not alone -
the truth is
I befriended my loneliness

He's satisfied with a pinch of salt on his daily bread
with a little of you at night
with a short night
with you asleep on dream's shoulder
with a brief dream
with you walking on sleep's shore
with a light sleep
that sways between the keening of the nai
and the clanging of goat bells

If God gave the sun the weekend off
people would know how you shine all the time
even though I am the only one who notices

It is a blank wall,
an old wall -
a heart burdened by drought and clay:
write your name here,
but don't pierce it with nails

Be careful with his limbs:
mend him with fine yarn
and don't rip his hem,
gather up his stray threads,
and squeeze him gently
when he is wet -
even if he seems like just an old shirt,
really, he is a heart

Like a flag
flying in a free country
you are waving in my heart

Who wept on the breast of the other?
Only the wet shirt
knows the answer