Who wept on the breast of the other?
Only the wet shirt
knows the answer
Abboud al Jabiri “At the Door of a Lonely Heart“
One of the first things to go
was the belief that my sons
would always sleep underneath the same roof as me—
the divorce dashed me of that delusion.
After my weekends with them,
as I returned them to their mother,
I would watch them walk away
down a path I couldn’t empty of its obstacles.
The next thing to go
was my tether to a country;
after a lifetime spent working,
jumping around a waning ice floe,
I had been crushed
by debt, bills, and meager salaries.
So, I packed my bindle of belongings
and made my way to toil in a city of bedouins.
Then came an estrangement
from my father, who pressed me
to accept his faith as I was
trying to manage my mounting crises.
Every day, for the past two years,
I ask myself, Can I go the rest of my life
never talking to this man?
My answer is still, Yes.
Other things have gone as well—
illusions of my youth, pinings for romance,
dreams of fame or fortune. Time and desert winds
have abraded me down to my bedrock.
In this distant city,
at the periphery of the world,
the red-brown sun is setting
on the unceasing horizon.
Still, I look forward to my calls with my sons,
over the weak signal that still connect us, and
to sending a portion of my salary home
to pay down the arrears of my old life.