Ghada Shafi’i
Neverending Staircase

Autumn will burrow into the torn shirt
and leave in its sleeves
the heavy smell of fog
and you will shake off
the sands of places that inhabited your ruins
extinguishing themselves
until wax covered your fingers
You’ll run to open the other window
letting in the wind that grinds against the door
and the hands that knocked, once upon an absence
awakening rain which flutters inside the walls
like feathers plucked by forgetfulness.

What molten candle will you lift up
to patch the tip in the clouds?
What shred of a howl will you cast into the wind
to quiet the sleepless wolf within you?
Autumn will chop down your brittle branches
for a colorful bonfire
or carve out drums to beat your absence
And you will dance around yourself
surrounded by the rustle of your first fall
and while darkness climbs other trees
you will descend
           a neverending

Translated from the Arabic by S.V. Atallah.