He closes the door, turns off the lights
except the hallway’s which leads to the fence
and lets him peek at the bougainvillea
and the branches of the sweet apple he planted last winter.
Inside his room one candle
by the window will do.
A smokey candle and its faint glow
to reconsider the seating arrangement
of faces, bodies, names, and places
that appear through the smoke.
In endless hallways sighs stumble to reach him.
Voices and rooms so remote they almost went under.
But he’ll be there hands and all
to guide them out of the dark, with smoke for a path,
light for a sign, and the fence
that keeps everything in place, preserved
and well cared for.
That his memories will not rot or expire.
That they will suffice, be there waiting for him
when he reaches his solitude in full.
Translated by Fady Joudah