Directions

by Kajal Ahmad

Whenever he was in the mountains,
wherever he took off his shoes,
they would always point towards his city
but he never thought that this might mean
his homeland would be liberated.
Now that he’s in his city,
wherever he leaves his shoes,
they point towards lands beyond his
but he never dreams that the day
might come when, without seeing
the mirage that exile always sees,
without any direction from his shoes,
he will travel through the heart of his country,
store myth in his grandmother’s wooden chest
and, in the cellar of a happy house,
close many colourful doors on it
like the doors in his childhood stories.

The literal translation of this poem was made by Choman Hardi

The final translated version of the poem is by Mimi Khalvati

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