To Perish

Is not that you’ve been denied and abandoned

By your homeland,

That the exile has no childhood,

That you’re unable to forget your motherland

No matter how much she denies or forgets you.

 

To Perish

Is that you’re two un-meeting halves;

You are neither here nor there

 

Exile

Is an un-healing wound in the spirit

That turns greenish with time.

Exile is a fracture in the meaning of homeland.

 

I—

When I call

My country,

The echo bounces back at me.

My own country:

The grief that waters my longing

And grows within.

 

By Tunisian Poet Ahmad Omar Zaabar

Translation by Myriam Rizkallah

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