In the Dark Room

Salman Masalha

In the Dark Room

In the dark room, you see things
you can't see in the lit room.
The alien light that comes from afar
slips into the yard like a shadow
fatigued by the darkness. A black
bird on the windowsill
suckles honey in the fog.
I bear a blessing from the Book
Of Secrets. I reveal the story
of the Vale of Tears. The man
who swam in shallow water
gathers goldfish from
the puddles and protects them
from the thieves for the child
who drowned wetly in a teardrop.
In the dark room you remember
things you had forgotten
in foreign lands. In the darkness
that rises from the longings
for the boy who is not, there is
a back room, filled with a grown
child's memories. Sealed like
a past that never knew a present.
Packed, like a life,
with a surfeit of death.

Translated by Vivian Eden

Published in: The Guardian, Books, May 17, 2008

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