"in the exodus I love you more" by mahmoud darwish
In the exodus I love you more. In a while
you will lock the city’s gates. There is no heart for me in your hands, and no
road anywhere for my journey. In this demise I love you more.
After your breast, there is no milk for the pomegranate at our window.
Palm trees have become weightless,
the hills have become weightless, and streets in the dusk have become weightless;
the earth has become weightless as it bids farewell to its dust.
Words have become weightless,
and stories have become weightless on the staircase of night.
My heart alone is heavy,
so let it remain here, around your house,
barking, howling for a golden time.
It alone is my homeland. In the exodus I love you more,
I empty my soul of words: I love you more.
We depart. Butterflies lead our shadows. In exodus
we remember the lost buttons of our shirts, we forget
the crown of our days, we remember the apricot's sweat, we forget
the dance of horses on festival nights. In departure
we become only the birds' equals, merciful to our days, grateful for the least.
I am content to have the golden dagger that makes my murdered heart dance—
kill me then, slowly, so I may say: I love you more than
I had said before the exodus. I love you. Nothing hurts me
neither air nor water... neither basil in your morning nor iris in your evening,
nothing hurts me after this departure.
—Mahmoud Darwish, from section 9 ("In the exodus I love you more") of "Eleven Stars Over Andalusia," translation by Agha Shahid Ali in Rooms Are Never Finished
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