Our scribbles gave the mother a visible body

Vénus Khoury-Ghata
Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker

her menses hidden behind the page
and the watercolor blood serving for mouth and pubis

Nourishing mother
slit in the middle like a skittish goat’s hoof
breasts drunk backwards when the inkwell dried up

We turned the sketch against the wall when she set her mute back against us
her face questioned the plaster
staring at itself
Why did she multiply trees and children?
Why did she set fire to the nest of the lark that saw her naked?
And why did we sleep head-to-foot with the unfriendly cypress when the all the
    linden’s ardor was for us?

Mother between two roadways and two shutter-latches


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