The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 10 no. 1


Vénus Khoury-Ghata

“She only opens her door to the winds...”

Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker  


She only opens her door to the winds who liberate the dead pinned to her mirror
      to bury them higher up in a hole in the air

The cliff, she says, is crumbling like a poor man's bread and it's not those taciturn
      oaks which will save the landscape’s reputation

She also says that she only has to wait for the fifth season for her dead to come
     back to her honeyed tears on the apple-tree's cheeks

They’ll straddle the fog
mount the dogs
soil the hallway
to express their disapproval

Questioning the calends complicates the route of the sun lodged in her chicken house
      since the hens began laying their eggs in the river

Curses on thresholds that don’t know how to gather footsteps she repeats until
      it intoxicates her
curses on hands that turn bread into grief
curses on water which becomes frost when you drink it

Her long cohabitation with the mountain taught her that birds migrate at night so
      that they won't know the road is long