Your glasses broke on your way
to our first Arabic lesson
in Damascus. I found you wandering
through al-Salhiyeh blind,
near Ibn al-Arabi’s tomb,
fording stones & broken glass,
looking for my door.
I did not understand all your words,
but your favorite authors translated.
You liked novelists best.
You did not talk politics, except
to tell me we were being watched
& to predict that revolution
would bring no resolution.
At the first sign of violence,
I escaped to Berlin.
I called you every night.
Every night, the phone buzzed to silence.
I hope your glasses protect your eyes
from the war’s incessant glare.
Rebecca Ruth Gould is the author of the poetry collection Cityscapes (2019) and the award-winning monograph Writers & Rebels (2016). She has translated many books from Persian and Georgian, including After Tomorrow the Days Disappear (2016), The Death of Bagrat Zakharych and other Stories (2019), and High Tide of the Eyes (2019). A Pushcart Prize nominee, she was awarded the Creative Writing New Zealand Flash Fiction Competition prize in 2019.