“Aussi ai-je enfermé sous ma langue un pays,
gardé comme une hostie”
“Tell me about your country” – she commanded,
as if I can open a page inside the cage
of an inner atlas, and pinpoint a mountain peak
spread over the valley, inside a museum of forgetting,
an old taxidermy shop after the taxidermist
died, forsaking a prehistoric bird with melted
wings on the speckled floor.
A glade ambles vertically, feebly holding
the obdurate Mount Lebanon with the acquiescent
Anti-Lebanon from plunging into the abyss.
Fractal images, portents of sirocco storms,
loom on the rocks of Byblos, scour the shoreline,
where old fishermen mend their shredded nets
with letters of the alphabet.
Ancient shores beckon rivers that feed them with invisible
silt, secret alluvium, steep-sided gorges, choruses of
vagarious reefs, seracs scraping adrift on submerged
limestone, spurs across fjords gazing at a waxed moon.
Nothing is left for us but salt marks on the membranes
of an earth we treaded, a land with no borders, unfinished like
the best poems, leaving us opened, a murex on a rock.
Donia G. Mounsef grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. She is a Canadian-Lebanese poet, playwright and dramaturge. She splits her time on either side of the Canadian Shield, between Toronto and Edmonton where she teaches theatre and poetry at the University of Alberta. She is the author of a poetry collection: “Plimsoll Lines” (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2018), and a chapbook: “Slant of Arils,” (Damaged Goods Press, 2015). Her writing has been published and anthologized in print and online in Pacific Review, The Harpoon Review, Rabid Oak, La Vague Journal, Habitat Literary Magazine, The Toronto Quarterly, Bluestem, Yes Poetry, Gutter Eloquence, Poetry Quarterly, Lavender Review, Linden Avenue, Bookends Review, Gravel Magazine, Skin 2 Skin, Iris Brown, Reverie’s Rage Anthology, 40 Below Anthology, etc. Her performance poetry and plays have been performed on stages in Toronto, Avignon, Montréal, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, and New Haven.