June 17th, 2017

poetry, exceptindreams

Ramadan | Khaled Mattawa

“Ramadan"
Khaled Mattawa

My mother forgets to feed her animals
because it’s only fair.
She rushes to them when
she hears hoarse roosters crowing
and billy goats butting
over a last straw.

This month the moon becomes a princess.
The stars fan her,
Jupiter pours cups of wine,
Mars sings melancholy mawals.
Bearded men holding prayer beads
and yellow booklets stare at her
and point aching fingers at her waist.

In our house we break a fast 
with dates from Huun 
and glasses of buttermilk. 
Then on to bowls of lamb soup 
flavored with mint, trays 
of stuffed grape leaves, 
spiced fava beans drenched 
in olive oil and lemon juice. 
And that is only the beginning.

The spirits of Johnny Walker and gin 
hide in the trunks of white Peugeots. 
In the nightclubs of my city, waiters 
serve only non-alcoholic beer 
and belly dancers cover themselves.

Father of sixteen children, our neighbor
visits bringing two kilos of baklava.
He washes them down with a dozen
demitasses of sweet sage tea.
Before dawn he runs to one
of his two wives, both named Salma,
and loves her hurriedly,
his hands barely touching a breast.