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THE NEIGHING OF THE WHITE HORSE

She said: “When you say those words don’t you feel like a new, wonderful person is being born in your soul?”

I said: “There is nothing inside me but spiders and deserted graves.”

She said aggressively: “I hate graves. I hate you. I hate the whole world.”

Then I closed my eyes, feeling a strange tiredness. In quick moments the world shrank and became a big rock hurtling through empty space with no land upon it. I remained alone, face to face with an ugly man who was coming toward me brandishing a drawn sword with a shining blade.

He said: “I will kill you. This sword is ancient and claims a victim every night.”

I said: “It’s like my city.” He said: “I will kill you. One day there will be no more victims and I’ll be the only person. Then I will become the victim, so that the sword can maintain its youth and glitter. I will kill you. You will enjoy a new taste as the sharp blade slides into your tender flesh.”

He drew nearer to me, a smile on his face that terrified me despite the fact that it dripped fondness and love. My body drew back, trembling in a flood of crippling convulsions brought on by unmasked fear. I became again a child wandering through narrow, zigzagging alleyways. The child laughs happily and embraces everything with a mother’s eagerness. If only I had never grown up. I was defeated before I was born. I inherited the executioner’s sword. Burned down the homes of my yesterday. Squandered my tomorrow. Oh, Mother – the jasmine garden in my heart is dying. I’ll grow old. Oh, my star, that has gone out on the marble thighs of a woman. When will death grow old? The scarlet rivers wail silently in my desolate fields. The flute of winter nights plays surprisingly gently. A white dancer gyrates in blue clouds. A wounded nightingale alights on a branch of a lemon tree, its fragrance kissing a green window. Tired horses sleeping on shimmering asphalt. The dawn like a gallows. Slowly eating apples, women stretched out naked on silk cushions. Men made of cigarette butts. Summer dips its stiff fingers into my trembling blood and runs above abandoned cities. Your lips, my poor love, are a dimly-lit tavern toward which men returning from distant ports make their way. A train whistle in the tumultuous streets where three men loiter aimlessly, wondering: “Tonight

BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015 65

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