They said:
When the invisible hauled you from the mountain-
Dragging along your pebble promises,
I was hewn like marble from the cliff.
. . .
The invisible is not a school garden.
The invisible is not a café chair.
The invisible is not a mailbox letter.
The invisible is not a war song.
The invisible is not a rose branch.
The invisible is not an extension of the nest.
The invisible is not an excuse for rain.
. . .
I said:
Why did thirst haul me along?
Alone and armless, like a water bottle.


In the belly of the whale
No one drowns,
The eyes are not empty.
. . .
Someone sat there,
Taking a lesson in deep biology.


The sun springs rashly from the eyes,
It parts us like the two halves of a curtain.
. . .
Everything you uttered
Is held against you.
We wait for the window to remove its blouse,
And talk about the knives it rips apart each morning.


The house has no windows,
Not a single air vent.
There are only plain walls,
Mushroom-stained ceilings,
A cloudy indoors sky,
And wet water.
There are old pots and songs,
No screws,
No pictures,
Just gloomy lighting.
A coughing sound hovers in the air.
A little sobriety taints Mozart’s gesture.
The blind sonata drives us mad.


Many winds blew on the tops of clouds,
Winds lopped off the trees,
An airy forest scattered by the currents,
A flush with air,
Empty wind that blows above my thirst,
But that doesn’t quench it.
. . .
This wind shaped us in its hand,
As if made of glass.
The wind that blows among the dead.


The voice is not far away…silence is not near.
The anchorwoman finishes reading the news and
exits the camera’s eye.
Harmoniously, the world exists in the anchorwoman’s
A modest thing, something shaped like a family wolf,
slinks into the next-door field.
A satellite spins on the terrace.
It stands like a white hemisphere over an African
child’s head.
The anchorwoman slams her voice on the table. She
The family wolf slams his voice on the table. He
She puts on a life vest,
While fish from a dead sea dampen her eloquence.
As it lies on a blue cloth.
He puts his chest on his own chest,
While several familiar bitemarks appear on his trans-
parent shirt.
With vigilant calm, she lays the bullet-proof vest on
the chair.
With the same accuracy, he places the medical prost-
hesis on the wooden organ.
Milk flows between his teeth.
The anchorwoman undoes her pants,
The anchorwoman, in the posture described, remem-
bers something indeterminate,
That is not necessarily the family wolf.
She wears the life vest and throws herself on a near-
by place she finds.
The wolf finds no reason to throw himself
behind the camera.
But, while wiping off a runny liquid between
his legs,
He slinks to another nearby place.
The voice is not far away… silence is not near.
The anchorwoman reads the news again and exits
the camera’s eye.
In a way that is not harmonious,
the wolf enters the anchorwoman’s eye:
A child armed with stones and hugs flings his child-
hood over the wall.
A watery tear hangs from the
clothesline like a remote schoolchild’s overall.
Children with military pencils and zones
learned by heart.
A morning hymn that’s late for class.
Mothers extracting rose water in letters
Hollowed-out by fingernails and prayers.
Meanwhile, a weapon falls from the anchorwoman’s
ear, the same gun that hung from the clothesline
while glinting gunshots are heard like earrings.
The family wolf jumps from one cipher to another.
Leaping from one moon to another, he forgot his
voice back on the table.
The earrings flew out of their display cases, scrat-
ching and smashing the camera’s chest.
And death descends like a colourless and flutterless
The voice is not far away… silence is not near.
The anchorwoman finishes reading the news, and
exits the eye of the wolf,
as the world anxiously escapes the camera’s eye.

Walid Zribi is a Tunisan poet, producer and editor.