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Iman Chahin Sharba: Prior to the Departure

Before I was killed by a matter of minutes I was combing the hair of my daughter
And braiding her plaits
With a pair of tweezers in the shape of a map.
Before I died in a matter of a few minutes
I was telling my husband
About possible solutions for peace
And assuring my children
That the war is almost nearing an end.

Before I was killed by a matter of hours, I was baking the sweets of salvation.
I named it the gathering cake
And decorated it with colors from my country.
Before I was killed in a matter of days here,
I was visiting the grave of my brother
To whisper in his ears the verses of peace and harmony.
I asked myself
Do I expect to live longer? Now here I am dreaming and choking out gradually

Just to wake up from the nightmare of tweezers
In the shape of a map exploding into bits and fragments.


Translated from the Arabic by Saleh Razzouk and Philip Terman. 

Iman Chahine Sharba is a Syrian poet who lives in Salamiah. She is the mother of two children, has a degree in applied chemistry, and works for the National Hospital of Salamiah.  Her latest collection is “Ishtar of Love and Fires.”

Saleh Razzouk is an assistant professor at the University of Aleppo, Syria.  He is a short story writer and his recent translations of contemporary Syrian poets have appeared in Poetry London, Crazy Horse, the Mid-American Review,  Bitter Oleander, and The Laurel Review.

Philip Terman is a poet and professor of literature at Clarion University,  His recent book is Our Portion: New and Selected Poems published by Autumn House Press.

Translation copyright 2018 Saleh Razzouk and Philip Terman.


Iman Chahine Sharba

One comment on “Iman Chahin Sharba: Prior to the Departure

  1. Powerful and heartfelt. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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