A Love That Hovers Like a Bedeviling Mosquito / Shatha Abu Hnaish

Shatha Abu Hnaish Bell Laghoo


My Husband and I

My husband is a gardener
Every morning he trims my leaves
watering me
counting my petals
checking my color
and he takes care that no one pick me

My husband is a logger
embedding his ax in my trunk
splitting me
and he kindles a fire
in my heart

My husband is a knight
mounting my lust
He bridles me
and jumps me
over love’s hills

أنا وزوجي

زوجي جنائني
كل صباح يشذّب أوراقي
يعدّ بتلاتي
يطمئن على لوني
ويحرص ألّا يقطفني احد

زوجي حطّاب
يغرس فأسه في جذعي
ويشعل النّار
في قلبي

زوجي فارس
يمتطي شهوتي
ويقفز بي
فوق تلال الحب

Five Pieces of Paper

First Piece

I am a woman, keen as a knife’s blade
This is as not bad as you think
With me, you can peel love’s delicious apple
and gouge a deep furrow
in the world’s face

Second Piece

I am a woman, bottomless as an abyss
This is not as frightening as you think
With me, you can tempt the edge
and descend to your death

Third Piece

I am a woman, solid as stone
This is not as tyrannous as you think
With me, you can learn silence
and walk with the river’s water

Fourth Piece

I am a woman, tenuous as light
This is not as ridiculous as you think
With me, you can break
and see rays refracted by the pieces

Fifth Piece

I am a woman, lovely as a rose
This is not as easy as you think
This obliges you to mingle with the reflection
in my mirror

خمس أوراق

الورقة الأولى

أنا امرأة حادّة كنصل سكّين
هذا ليس سيّئا كما تظن
معي يُمكنك أن تقشّر تفّاحة الحب الشهيّة
وتحفر في وجه العالم
أخدوداً عميقاً


الورقة الثانية

أنا امرأة عميقة كهاوية
هذا ليس مخيفاً كما تظن
معي يمكنك ان تجرّب الحافة
وتهوي إلى حتفك


الورقة الثالثة

أنا امرأة قاسية كحجر
هذا ليس ظالماً كما تظن
معي يمكنك أن تتعلّم الصّمت
وتمشي مع ماء النّهر


الورقة الرّابعة

انا امرأة هشّة كضوء
هذا ليس سخيفاً كما تظن
معي يمكنك أن تنكسر
وترى النور يخرج من الفتات


الورقة الخامسة

انا امرأة جميلة كوردة
هذا ليس سهلاً كما تظن
هذا يدعو للتماهي
في مرآتي

Five Poems for Said


The sun was fiery
and you were my shadowy tree


My heart is a scarf
onto the branch of your heart


You are my tear
I don’t want to cry


I love to ride your waves
O sea


As a moth
I hover around you

O light

خمس قصائد إلى سعيد


كانت الشّمس حارقَة
وكُنتَ أنتَ شجرتي الظّليلَة


قلبي شالٌ
على غُصن قَلبك


أنتَ دمعتي الّتي
لا أُريدُ أن أبكيها


أحبُّ أن أركبَ أمواجكَ
أيّها البَحر


أحومُ حولكَ

أيّها الضّوء

Translated by:
Francesca Bell & Noor Nader Al Abed
Painting: Pablo Picasso, Sleeping Peasants, 1919


Shatha Abu Hnaish was born in 1987 in Nablus, Palestine and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Al-Najah National Universtiy. She has written poetry since childhood, and her work has been published in journals in the Arab World.

Francesca Bell is an American poet whose poems appear in many journals, including B O D Y Literature, New Ohio Review, North American Review, PANK, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, River Styx, and Zone 3.  Her work has been nominated eight times for the Pushcart Prize, and she won the 2014 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle.

Noor Nader Al Abed lives in Jordan. He teaches English to 11th and 12th grade boys at a secondary school in Jordan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from Zarqa Private University and will soon complete his master’s degree in English Literature at Arab Open University.