The Insect of Infinity

Abdallah Zrika

Sun Tearing the Page’s Flesh

Like a candle’s wick
I extinguish the light in me

Like an eraser I erase
my face with my face

Where I am going:
            the mirror leads to blindness
            the shadow to Satan
            the desert to writing

All that is on this page:
            word without flesh
            tear without salt
            and whiteness fleeing
                                    even the dead

For I have never seen the desert
begin with the voids of the wind
and end in the scraps
                                    from a language’s mill

Ah truth like the dead face is charred
by a tomb’s darkness

The crime is to wrap flesh in paper
or writing in the same paper
            or to toss this flesh on a plank
Or to bury it cold in the earth
                                    before the sun may
steal within it

Dreams are buried in the sand near a snake

Or in a well covered by a torn shirt

Or in a prison and once we leave it
                        they flee from us

But the day’s scent is imprisoned in a wheat

Mice in the Wardrobe of Solitude


I do not want to be the chair
opposite the corpse

nor the dead insect of the void
between words

nor the stone of the eye
breaking the spine of the glass

                        nor even the red that never
                        saw the drop of blood it laps up


I do not want the blue of the sugar paper
to absorb the tear
                        that last night ended
the rainfall
                        nor for the word earth to remain
                        without the shawl’s


I do not understand the mill’s shape
when the wind sweeps through it

nor the rain
that escapes through the holes
of my shoes

and I do not know where I am
                        when I see a land
bordered by the posts of my death

and I do not understand the sky
                        when the rain falls straight
to the floor of my skull
                        instead of in the bucket
that softly rocks my bed


But I understand the fever when it takes me
for it distills all I hear
                        and erases all I see
in the self sweating myself out

until I recover
and open the world like a refrigerator
to find nothing
                                    but the odor
            of the white
                                    rotted by the ice

translated from the Arabic by Tim DeMay