POETRY: Nadia Mifsud

Copyright Gilbert Calleja
'maltempata' translated from Maltese by Maria Grech Ganado

till yesterday
you were still calm

obbing on the shoreline of my breasts
wind at your stern
your eyes a sky of blue

your face is hazy
your choppy mouth slaps
your words are charged with thunder
and my heart
as my body opens, a crack, a creek
till the gales leave your cheeks
and you can sail again

exil / asile translated from Maltese by Maria Grech Ganado - for Suleiman

nailed to the screen
fathomless eyes, black
for postcards
of my land


I remember catechism classes
aunt Tonina
beady eyes
thumping hands
threatening Hell
J’accuse ...

I remember Good Friday
heavy chains
white hoods
barefoot women
lamenting their Redeemer

I remember a people
proud in faith

stop it, she said,
you don’t know what you’re saying
we’re small
there isn’t room ...
... stop it, you left!

that’s the whole point, I left
as thousands did before me
             like your brother
             your sister
             and your uncle
it could have been me
it could have been them
my daughter too’s an outsider, ma

This is Death that comes for you
grills you, fries you, oh oh oh!!! :
look it’s coming, look it’s coming
who was it gave you that blow ?*

"Je n'ai qu'une passion, celle de la lumière, au nom de l'humanité qui a tant souffert et qui a droit au bonheur. Ma protestation enflammée n'est que le cri de mon âme."- Emile Zola

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