Earth Presses Against Us
By Mahmoud Darwish
Earth is pressing against us,
trapping us in the final passage.
To pass through, we pull off our limbs.
Earth is squeezing us.
If only we were its wheat, we might die and yet live.
If only it were our mother so that she might temper us with mercy.
If only we were pictures of rocks held in our dreams like mirrors.
We glimpse faces in their final battle for the soul,
of those who will be killed by the last living among us.
We mourn their children’s feast.
We saw the faces of those who would throw our children out of the windows of this last space.
A star to burnish our mirrors.
Where should we go after the last border?
Where should the birds fly after the last sky?
Where should plants sleep after the last breath of air?
We write our names with crimson mist!
We end the hymn with our flesh.
Here we will die.
Here, in the final passage.
Here or there, our blood will plant olive trees.