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by Iyad Hayatleh

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It’s four am
my heart sneaks towards alleys of Damascus
like a Sufi deer in love with a white dove
like the soul of my father
at a wild dawn

He looks for an eight year old boy flying his kite
for a country he had seen only in dreams
he stumbles into a string  dangling
from the middle of a sky addicted to the sorrow
for six decades and the seventh to come

He stops at the fourth house on the heart side
and hugs my shadow which has long remained over the doorstep
he opens a brown door
ascends two stairs
and opens another brown door

A smell of morning coffee which spilled
on a straw mat in a cry of memory, awoke in his lungs
the tattered curtains smile joyously at his return
he whispers: shush
and slips left
also to the heart point
and kneels over a bed
where the back of its queen has successively broken by farewell nights
and the five tales of exile

He stares at the face of an old woman drowning in the sea of  worries,
for seven children, twenty two grandchildren, three homelands,
and a refugee camp
and long lingers reciting his tears

Then
lightly crawls like a ghost
and kisses my mother’s feet
inhaling below them the perfume of Paradise
and
dies . . there.