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His heart in his hands
His eyes
Stars in a fading night
between his wound and Paradise
There is room for a nation
Like the wind, he is running
And calling
with the highest waterfall of his blood:
Oh my country!
wait for me,
I am the tamarisk trees
And all the pine
The last watch
in the patience of sleepless mothers
quickly descending
at the foot of dusty towns
waving the red and the white
O you, golden peach of my land
Royal snow of Tala
Burning embers in the bends of Gafsa
You, all the stones of this earth
and its wheat stolen
by the ants of the new mongrels
O sun that forgot to warm
the nakedness of our infant souls
O winds blowing not those asleep
on its strange thresholds
My country’s mint
and its scent forgotten
since the times of the first fire

And…he staggers like a baby dove
A night shot sends him rolling
On the steps
He dissipates
Into pomegranate blossom
Ululations break out
On the green mountains of Kasserine
Whose pines were besieged
since the era of Takfarinas
Like night’s musk he keeps mounting
While the wind converses with him
and gets deeper into the pores
in the arteries of the tired heart
the heart ever beating
with a legendary love story
In the dreams of children
He rises a kite
in the hallucinations of maidens
emerges a red-beaked silver rook
In the eyes of mothers
a waterfall of tears
Promised to stay
In the memory of homeland
A towering minaret
in full splendor
A ten thousand planets
And fields of spikes
Each grain worth
A hundred thousand

Fawzia Alwi is a writer, professor of literature, poet, and critic from Kasserine, Tunisia. Alwi has published a combination of seven books of poetry and novels. Fawzia became well-known for her support of the revolution in January 2012. Alwi resides on the west side of Kasserine.