Marwan Makhoul - In Search of My Mother

By: Marwan Makhoul
Translate: Raphael Cohen

Like an egg hatching chicks
your two hands, Mum, let go of mine.
I boarded the train of thirty, grow older;
the train grows smaller in your eyes and recedes.
On the way
anxiety asked for my name;
I said, hold on until I know who I’ve become:
I might be the postman for your letters
to a world where adulthood awaits me
or maybe not.
At a distance of twenty years
here I am now, Mum, looking for myself
since I have no parent
or helper.
Why did you leave me hostage to fortune?
Did you ready me for the inevitable and hand me
to the unknown which slaps me in the face?
Who says I’m stronger now?
Did you betray me when you promised me maturity?
Saying that time would make me strong with age?
Were you joking with me?
Or did the nest that was more merciful
than heaven grow too cramped?
A heaven whose storms broke my wings?
I came to you with mud on my clothes
and you smacked me like a child.
Do you remember?
Do you remember the forceful rhythm of your palms on my cheeks?
The melody in it soothed and cleansed me
and from your hands an inexplicable warmth.
What of life’s dirt touches your hands now
and where is Dad in all this
where is Dad?