August 23rd Birthday Love: Nazik Al-Malaika

Nazik Al-Malaika

Elegy for a Woman of No Importance (or, images from a Baghdad alleyway)

She died, but no lips shook, no cheeks turned white
no doors heard her death tale told and retold,
no blinds were raised for small eyes to behold
the casket as it disappeared from sight.
Only a beggar in the street, consumed
by hunger, heard the echo of her life—
the safe forgetfulness of tombs,
the melancholy of the moon.

The night gave way to morning thoughtlessly,
and light brought with it sound—boys throwing stones,
a hungry, mewling cat, all skin and bones,
the vendors fighting, clashing bitterly,
some people fasting, others wanting more,
polluted water gurgling, and a breeze
playing, alone, upon the door
having almost forgotten her.

-Nazik Al-Malaika, Translated by Emily Drumsta

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: