“I have learned and dismantled all the words in order to draw from them a
single word: Home.”
Mahmoud Darwish, from “I Belong There”, translated by Munir Akash and Carolyn Forché — posted on the-final-sentence
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“The sunlight didn’t break, we are broken,
the word “broken” is broken.”
Yehuda Amichai, from “Yom Kippur”, translated by Chana Bloch — posted on the-final-sentence
“Memory shrinks until it fits in a fist
memory shrinks without forgetting”
Fady Joudah, from “Tell Life
“It’s true, I think, as Kenko says in his Idleness,
That all beauty depends upon disappearance,
The bitten edges of things,
the gradual sliding away
Into tissue and memory,
the uncertainty
And dazzling impermanence of days we beg our meanings from,
And their frayed loveliness.”
Charles Wright, from “Lonesome Pine Special”

a light knocking on the sleep door
like the sound of a rope striking the side of a boat

heard underwater
boats pulling up alongside each other

beneath the surface we rub up against each other
will we capsize in

the surge and silence
of waking from sleep

you are a lost canoe, navigating by me
I am the star map tonight

all the failed echoes
don’t matter

the painted-over murals
don’t matter

you can find your way to me
by the faint star-lamp

we are a fleet now
our prows zeroing in

praying in the wind
to spin like haywire compasses

toward whichever direction
will have us

Kazim Ali, “Sleep Door”, from The Fortieth Day

July is burning a hole in our hearts. We will never be what we were before this summer. Love is temporary, like the clouds above appearing and vanishing into the horizon. I wish I could be more hopeful, instead I’m afraid for what lies beyond even today. Please hold me until I can breathe again.

“Lightning songs
quicken the heart,
Summer turns
inside the stomach
What to do
with thunder
inside the head?”
“Grasping for straws is easier;
You can see the straws.
“This most excellent canopy, the air, look you,”
Presses down upon me
At fifteen pounds per square inch,
A dense, heavy, blue-glowing ocean,
Supporting the weight of condors
That swim its churning currents.
All I get is a thin stream of it,
A finger’s width of the rope that ties me to life
As I labor like a stevedore to keep the connection.
Water wouldn’t be so circumspect;
Water would crash in like a drunken sailor,
But air is prissy and genteel,
Teasing me with its nearness and pervading immensity.
The vast, circumambient atmosphere
Allows me but ninety cubic centimeters
Of its billions of gallons and miles of sky.
I inhale it anyway,
Knowing that it will hurt
In the weary ends of my crumpled paper bag lungs.”
Mark O’Brien, “Breathing”