I remember trees:
the date palm of our mosque is Basra, at the end of Basra
a bird’s beak,
a child’s secret,
a summer feast.
I remember the date palm.
I touch it. I become it, when it falls black
wen a dam fell, hewn by lightning.
And I remember the mighty mulberry
when it rumbled, butchered with an axe…
to fill the streams with leaves
and green blood.
I remember when pomegranate blossoms covered the sidewalks.
The students were leading the workers’ parade…
The trees die
not standing, the trees die.
Saadi Youssef, from “America, America” trans. from the Arabic by Khaled Mattawa. In Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond, eds. Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal, and Ravi Shankar (W.W. Norton & Co, 2008).