Taher Riyad
From Signs


I am not the shade who upholds the bare tree
           against its dissolution,
I’m not hunger to strap stones round my belly and suck
           your emaciated breast.
I’m thin like the figure of fear,
I contain the thirst of embers
           to transform themselves back to branches,
I do not pray for what’s to come
—nothing will come—
and I don’t concede to reverence.
It is a chain of ants that raised this earth
           and now erodes it slowly.

Translated from the Arabic by May Jayyusi and Jeremy Reed.