Afternoon Rainbow

Almost two years old, walking toward my dad.
Kuwait zoo, probably around 1988.
Recovering from chicken pox

Afternoon Rainbow

by Fawziyya Abu Khalid (translated from Arabic by S.V. Attala)

Do I open my poetry book

or the valves of my heart

What poem could contain your small hand

waving at the school gate

What metre could bear the motion of your feet

in my lungs

the jingle of your uniform

as you cross the street into my heart

The noon sun sets your hair ablaze

Your chestnut hair sets the noon sun ablaze

with rainbow colours

You drop the heavy schoolbag from your small shoulder

like a branch unloading its burden of apples

and I hear the flutter of downy wings

You pull off your school shoes, releasing a river

of sacred ink onto the easel of my fortunes

You come closer, you leap…

Your kiss fills my veins with the restlessness of poetry

and the miracle of a moment

as fleeting as a wild foal

speak up!

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