Saturday, August 15, 2009


Eight white birds, wings tipped with black, flying away. Snow
stretches below from dark to darkness.

This is the image of the soul leaving, says Catherine. I sent this
postcard to my friends to announce the death of my sister.

Dusty blue above the pyramid of Saqqara. The kingdom ends here
and the desert begins.

Near a carved doorway, a guard lurks. For five pounds he lets me
go down into the cold inner tombs.

There, the ancient etchings have been defaced by hieroglyphic
graffiti. “First dynasty ruffians,” the guard explains, in pieces.

The roof is missing from the temple at the gate. Only the pillars
attest to it.

There is a consonant in the middle of my Arabic name that my
tongue cannot manage.

I mispronounce myself.

In a room full of shards at the museum, realizing the Egyptian
artists practiced. Over and over again: a human figure from the
side. Two feet evenly placed.

No attempt at approaching or retreating figures.

I love this painting of the cathedral by Van Gogh, says Catherine.
There is no door, no way to get in.

-Kazim Ali