For Tunisia

We present this work in honor of the Tunisian holiday, Martyrs’ Day.

Samia Ouederni
b. 1980


Do not fill their voices with smoky air
because shut mouths of despair are blocking their spit, their revived viruses,
their weaknesses to tell the story
when the noise of a rolling stone is swearing at god.
Shall I, at least, say
that memory is decayed
that history is dismayed;
that past is dead deeds
and mythological dates are the land’s seeds
as the sheep have forgotten about the wolf’s teeth
Shall I say that Eternity
means not a Calvin Klein’s perfume
but looms above their hats and doom
denying all celebrity?
Or will you forget someday
that trees have their leaves to be lost
over heartless pebbles and frost?
I have learnt from history that dam-builders
will be forever damned.
When the water will rise with the people’s tears,
it will spare none.
Shall I tell about a woman’s cry
amid sounds and swear-words?
Or loudly my voice will tell of
female shapes whose bodies have been displaced for time and space
in fashion magazines?
Can I turn on a TV pretending to re-appropriate history
or will its waves bring about voiceless shouts?
Now, when writing is fired by scientific neutrality that cries:
Can I, at last, see purged tongues laying down their sandals and feet
with no chance even to cheat
or tell what their hearts hide?
Will I be hanged when they will understand?

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