Monday, September 25, 2023




A ruthless catalog of sorrows:

years in front of the screen, diplomas before jobs,

and languages —all the torture—now ranged under Languages.

Where are all the wasted days?  And the nights

of walking with hands stretched out

and the visions that crept over the walls?

Where are the feelings of guilt

and the sudden sadness faced with a little hill of fruit

atop a handcart in some forgotten street?

Years with no mention of the empty hours or the funerals,

expunged of black depressions and nibbed nails,

the house keys forgotten inside the house.

There isn't a single open window

and no trace of the desire, deferred, to leap out.

A life overstuffed with accomplishments,

scrubbed free of dirt:

proof that the one who lived it

has cut all ties to the earth.


Iman Mersal

The Threshold

translated by Robyn Creswell

Farrar, 2022