Victim Number 48*
By Mahmoud Darwish
They found in his chest a lamp of roses and a moon
And he thrown dead upon the stones
In his pocket they found a few piastres,
A box of matches, a travel pass,
And tattoo marks upon his young arm.
His mother missed him,
Mourned him year after year.
Boxthorn sprouted in his eyes
And darkness thickened.
When his brother grew up
And went looking for work in the city's markets
They put him in prison:
He carried no travel pass.
All he carried in the street was a box of garbage
And other boxes.
So, children of my country,
Thus did the moon die.
*translated from Arabic by Denys Johnson-Davies