Deema Mahmoud – Collage – translated by Mimi Chang via Khalid Raissouni

I will prepare our coffee with feathers of ravens so that it will be dark

          enough for darkness to reign over the room

and with it we can stain our bodies relentlessly until we don’t want to get rid of it

          or take it as a spell so that daylight does not come

I’ll try it as a lipstick to seal your lips

          then we’ll keep the countless copies of lips in the mirror

I will draw a tree on the wall opposite the window

and with my fingertips, I’ll pluck the branches and


If I have to bear fruit, I’ll hide in your chest like a fetus

          spelling out the alphabet

Twenty years later, I will take part of each craft and preserve it for you

          (you call me and I rush to your appointment)

I will ferment it with raisins so that it is delicious to the breath of your stone

I direct your speech to the angels so that they spread their wings on the roof and


while we make our darkness a sweet Mawlawi rite

          avoiding a wick of whiteness that turns you on

I will age so that we can drink together the cup of our delight

as we let the sky fall like feathers from our bodies

          and then, we fly

Deema Mahmood is an Egyptian poet with a BS degree in Computer Sciences and Statistics. She has published five books of poetry,  Braids of Spirit (Dar Al-Adham, Cairo, 2015), I Pick Quarrels with the Horizon over a Violin (Dar Al Ain, Cairo, 2017), Inscribing Tenderly on his Papyrus Sheet (Haia’t Qoussor Althaqafa, Cairo, 2021) and Bitten Off Fingers in a Bag (Dar Al-Adham, Cairo, 2021), all in Arabic. She won the Prize of “Helmi Salem Prize for the new Poetry 2021.” Many of  her  poems  have been  translated  into other languages. She has participated in many poetry and cultural events and international festivals.

Khalid Raissouni is a poet, translator and research professor of Arabic and Hispanic literature in Morocco. Former member of the Executive Board of the House of Poetry in Morocco and editorial staff of the magazine Al-Beyt. Founding member of the Association of Friends of Lorca based in Tetouan, member of the Union of Writers of Morocco and the National Syndicate of the Moroccan Press. He has translated Spanish poetry into Arabic and Arabic into Spanish and won the Rafael Alberti Poetry Prize from the Ministry of Education of the Spanish Embassy in Morocco.

Mimi Chang is a Chinese poet living in the USA. She has published widely in literary journals in China. She translates poems and literary essays and organizes the annual Hu Shi Poetry Award in China.