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[Requiem for the Aral Sea]

By (January 1, 2015) No Comment

Translated by Thoraya El-Rayyes


When Man placed his hand in the Aral Sea,
it transformed instantly into a desert,
became a graveyard for rusted ships, a playground for the sands.

Who doesn’t believe in miracles?


“The sea is a mirage filled with water” said Ṭāher Riyāḍh.
And so
Man dried out the sea
to search
the mirage.


It did not occur to Him when He expelled him from His garden and said “go swallow the sea”, that he really would swallow it!

Here He is, sitting in his ancient chair
waiting for the end of time
after books of physics and biology
turned him into
just another of the unemployed.

Hisham Bustani has four published collections of short fiction/prose poetry/hybrid genre. He is acclaimed for his avant-garde themes, style, and language. In 2013, the UK-based cultural webzine The Culture Trip listed him as one of the best six contemporary Jordanian writers. His translated works have appeared in The Literary Review, The Common, CutBank, Banipal, The Malahat Review, World Literature Today, among other publications. His book The Perception of Meaning has been awarded The 2014 University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award.

Thoraya El-Rayyes is a writer and literary translator living in Amman, Jordan. Her work has appeared in World Literature Today, The Outpost, The Literary Review, Sukoon and many others. She received the 2014 Arkansas Arabic Translation Prize for her translation of Hisham Bustani’s flash fiction / prose poetry collection The Perception of Meaning.