"Everything / leads me back"


Reading night and the fire that lances
the sky, reading day and the arabesques
of strewn corpses, I become my brother’s
Siamese twin. Rubbing the ashes of his
bones unto my face I become his blue
screams at birth. And despite what I’ve
told myself, what I’ve grown to believe,
despite my bunkered heart and fortified
skin, my thick bile and phlegm, I am bled
white by an appalling battle. I have cleansed
my body with the soap of his fat, stuffed
my pillows with his shorn hair, I made
dice of his molars. Everything, and my
contradictions above all, bring us closer.
Will I walk on four now to recall what I
thought was human? Will I climb the tree
shedding skin whispering the apple’s secret?
What poisons will house themselves in
my gills? Will I be a victim again? And again
a murderer? I split in two and two more,
and I fill a room growing like yeast into
all the selves I’ve known. Everything
leads me back, unified and cellular, to
the womb we shared. Reading thunder
made in preachers’ salons, reading lightening
that severs the sun’s rays, my silences spill
an ooze that fastens me to him. My cowardices
hook us into one destiny. See how short
my arms are. Take a look into my blind eyes.
Every breath I inhale is the cold wind
that makes us embrace like statues of
eternal lovers. In every exhale there’s a
wisp of silver smoke from the warm clay
that binds us. Reading night, reading
day, I twin myself to my brother.

Khaled Mattawa
from Tocqueville

Other poems by Khaled Mattawa posted @ Against Oblivion:

"Growing Up with a Sears Catalog in Benghazi, Libya"
"Echo & Elixer 2"
"Corpus Christi"