Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Marilyn Hacker's "Sahar al-Beitounia" (today on POETRY DAILY)

Sahar al-Beitounia

She lives in Beitounia
And her name is Sahar
Her name is the hour
Between sunrise and morning.

Her bougainvillea
Overlooks Beitounia
Where a mango-bright bedspread
Hangs over the railing
Lit by first light
That reflects from a wall.

Not the wall of a house
Or her family's orchard.
She can see the graffiti
Ich bin ein Berliner

Marwân had orchards
Al-zaytûn wa-l-'inab
Olive trees, grapevines,
Where they went out to work
Between sunrise and morning.

She is bint Marwân
(and also bint Su'âd).
She is ukht Târiq,
Ukht Mahmûd, ukht Asmâ.

When jeeps and bulldozers
Converged on Beitounia
A hundred and twenty
All walked out at midday
Were chased back with tear gas
And rubberized bullets.

Seventeen thousand dunnams
Of orchards and wheatfields
With a wall thrust between them
And the doors of Beitounia.

Her name is Sahar
At dawn in Beitounia
Where the first light reflects
On the wall of a prison.

Ismuhâ Sahar
Bayn al-fajr wa-l-subh
—her name is Sahar
between sunrise and morning.

Prairie Schooner
Spring 2012

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