Vocabulary of Silence
Love, what is your other name?
Who rides the red horse, the one that is smoke?
Who tramples the fields where words are tinder?
What makes us? I want it to be Love.
the naked man. A hood—over his head. His hands—tied behind him.
How to utter it?
What word could open my jaw?
Tanks bullets drones air-strikes starvation sanctions
structural adjustment programming poisoned land
police truncheons torture harsh up collective
punishment cigarette burning water-boarding
My tongue splits.
From the Red Sea, from its salt water, in its warm shallow shoals,
Here are my good…dead
They rise between river and river, between sword and sword.
They rise between the hour of song and the hour of work
between the echo and its saying. They rise inside
the cup-shaped hollow of pelvis—they rise and ripen and never grow old:
Mohammad Omar Jawad Ali Selma Madia
Fatima Suhad Hussein Ahmed Salam Azad
Aysha Maysoon Nuhad Faisal Raad Zaid
Widad Nuha Haifaa Amal Kifah Souad
Fallujah Ramadi Diyala Basra Gaza
My day is a froth out of which the dead rise,
these particular dead, the ones who come every morning in the middle of prayer.
They cushion my knees and follow my hand movements.
They are residue in all that I drink.
I place my forehead to the floor.
I fumble with the lyric, move my finger as a blind person
along its calligraphy.
It is written: I am cause—and comfort.