“Psalm Under Seige”

A Poem by Khaled Mattawa

Speak the body’s thrift, the blood
and breath sustained by a candle
flame, remembrances

encircle like moths. No seagulls
when fishermen return
empty-handed to Arwad.

Locust-ravaged Idlib fields,
the dry wells of Daraa. Candle
light or soul—what else to call

what remains alive in me, how
it shrinks like an iris blinded
by death’s blazing noon.


Khaled Mattawa, Fugitive Atlas

From Fugitive Atlas by Khaled Mattawa. Used with the permission of Graywolf Press. Copyright © 2020 by Khaled Mattawa.

Khaled Mattawa
Khaled Mattawa
Khaled Mattawa is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Fugitive Atlas and Tocqueville, and is the translator of nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry, including Saadi Youssef's Without an Alphabet, Without a Face.

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