A poem by Ahmed Shafie

by qisasukhra

A new poem by Ahmed Shafie, found here in Arabic.

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pasta tree

as a young woman whose name we will keep quiet read One Hundred Years of Solitude the boughs of a tree outside her window were reaching out towards her body  and though another narrative says the opposite  that there was never any tree by her window before she began to read  the two narratives soon find common ground   she was an ordinary young woman set to enroll at the faculty of economics and political sciences  and she was loved by a cousin who lived in Manama and was six years her senior  and reportedly she had started to write very short stories and the geography teacher at her high school had  once or twice  by way of encouragement  accompanied her to the literary club nearby     this teacher now denies in general and in detail that he ever said to her  Forget Murakami   you must start right  he says  I am only a geography teacher I don’t even have a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude in the house

what matters  whichever way the branches reach  is that we now have   in an ordinary village whose name can be found in government files  unlike Macondo   a tree linked to a young woman  a tree around whose trunk pasta with hot sauce has been thrown  and a young woman who lives on light and water  and a window which has not been closed  and a geography teacher who climbs each night to the roof of his house and burns a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude  to find it once more the instant he descends back to his rooms  on a shelf without a particle of dust upon it  to its right the bound volumes of the Story of Civilization and The Character of Egypt to its left  deep in black grime     what can we say about Manama?     safely  that it is the capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain and lies  according to Wikipedia  on the north coast of that country  and that it is a touch more than twenty-seven thousand kilometres in extent     no need to mention a dermatologist who is resident there according to the testimony of patients and friends and government records  and yet   despite this   despite it all

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