“Midnight Train to Georgia”
A Poem by Nathalie Handal

From the Collection Life In A Country Album

October 16, 2019  By Nathalie Handal

My cousin the Army Captain
didn’t say much,
then one day he wrote to her:

Didn’t I adore you harder
than silence?

Didn’t you know
I kept trying to reach you

but kept appearing on the
other side of wherever I wasn’t?

Didn’t you know
I tore time into pieces

to understand how
I harmed you?

Kiss me one last time.

Who can really escape the heart
well enough not to leave a trace?

Kiss me one last time.

Didn’t you know
I was afraid to count the music

on your side of midnight,
to count the steps

that would never lead me
to where I could tell you, free me?


Life in a country album

From Life In A Country Album by Nathalie Handal. Used with the permission of the publisher, .Copyright 2019 © by Nathalie Handal.

Nathalie Handal
Nathalie Handal
Nathalie Handal is the author of numerous poetry collections, most recently, Life in a Country Album (2019) of which Claire Messud writes, “A contemporary Orpheus, she hymns our most urgent and ineffable truths,” and  the flash collection The Republics, lauded as “one of the most inventive books by one of today’s most diverse writers” and winner of the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing and the Arab American Book Award. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Nation, The Irish Times, among others. Handal is the recipient of awards from The Lannan Foundation, PEN Foundation, Centro Andaluz de las Letras, Fondazione di Venezia, among others. She is a professor at Columbia University, and writes the literary travel column “The City and the Writer” for Words without Borders magazine.

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