He Asks Me About Love / Maya Abu Alhayyat

The Lovers – René Magritte

About moments I waste thinking

and missing and choosing the right words

About nonexistent things
that I live with, knowing
they do not exist
About absolution and the negligence of inattention
and the willingness to believe anything
About glee raised by two lovers’ hands playing in snow
and enfolding coldness
About grief spread by the widower’s eyes, the print shop’s owner, when he tells
about his old widow’s goodness
and marrow’s taste stuffed with rice and kisses
how she hid its secret in her chest
and then turned a blind eye
About the teens’ nerve sending their kisses through the school bus windows
to those standing on the pavement’s chill and waiting
About a woman walking between a porch and a window
watching for a boy
who hides his cigarettes in his coat sleeve
She opens the door quietly
kisses his forehead, then covers him with a blanket
and leaves to sleep
About a husband knowing the love is over
and trying with juvenile kisses
to keep the candle burning and he fails
About a monkey who rubs his mate’s back
and plucks lice and insects
from the heart of her crown
one by one
He asks me about love


Translated by Noor Nader Al Abed & Francesca Bell