Fatma Kandil
The Islands

Like any sea gull in the tales I set out .. alone .. when friends were clinging to my punctured boat until their palms appeared to be like hanging doves .. alone .. like a transparent piece of ice revealing her arteries .. I promised them the dead fish .. and the water was cooingly dodging the under side of my oar .. I was not seduced by the muttering of the colored fish .. and I was racing through the wild trees with spontaneous blood .. then there was an island which I named “the water’s pupil” from where I could see the distant banks as they tuck themselves into the seashells .. while the shell opens its heavy eyelids and the pearl hides its sex .. I cross from the foam to the roof’s yawning .. I can lean on the streets of the sea .. and fill the spirits into a glass bottle .. the steps of the horizon appeared low .. they were washed with a language I did not know .. it found peace in me so I put it to sleep under my breasts away from the heart .. like this I fluff the fog and wear it as wings so the sea can rock it between its two shores .. and when my boat sunk .. I had already supported my back on the wave’s sidewalks .. I was alone .. dragging the horizon’s threads from my memory .. and spinning a wide net .. human images falling in its rectangles .. bit by bit .. the water’s pupil was widening ..
                                                                                                        widening ...

Translated from the Arabic by Pauline Kaldas