Fawziyya Abu Khalid
To a Man

I thought you could be a faithful dog
an Arabian
horse unsaddled
a forerunner to some god
that tastes unlike the dried dates of the tribe.

For myself
I have torn up all heir’s contract with the past
uprooting my clan’s trees
embracing the freedom of outlaws.

Alas, I discovered
your backbone was
but a pillar of fog frozen
in the Levantine mirror of Narcissus;
and you: nothing
more than a Sultan’s herald
another pimp
hailing the virtues of the fruits
of the Fertile Crescent.

Translated from the Arabic by Kamal Boullata.