Sunday, June 3, 2007

islands of memory

The sea is still the sea
let not her majesty
the paler be
for trash astrew
on her shores of blue
and gold.
Such a mark is less blight
than a mosquito to alight
on the sun’s flowering flame:
her brilliance is the same,
the sea
our puny evils never to tame.

My childhood ends today on this brown beach strewn with white stones and washed by waves. The air sparkles with droplets as if there could be no sorrow in such a passing. Syrian families stroll down the sand or bend over collecting the roundest stones; the third day of the Eid is a happy day for them. My childhood ends not because my childhood dreams have been fulfilled but because I have gone beyond every last one of them, and nothing remains to be done of them; not because I am brave but because I have lost the illusion of courage; because I need love, and sex if it is not to be had – both is best of all, though most often I go with neither; and because I see death coming slowly, like a horse down a distant beach. And all the deeds of childhood form islands of memory on the sea of forgetting, whose waves erode the beaches, tumbling memories into the sea, stones unresistant.

January 22, 1999 Lattakiyah, Syria

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