The Wolf Who Lived Alone - Poem by Khaled Juma
My face is the forests' unease. I occupy a chapter in the tale. I sleep with one eye open, puzzling the night, star by star. Solitary, I arrange seasons, and trees. Solitary, I make imaginings from fear. I induct the words of a scared rabbit to make my fable. I am the wolf, unsurpassed. Only I know the roads that curve and turn in the mountain's slope. Only I hide the distress in a rock on which a shepherd sits with his flute, dripping sadness, not knowing that I am right behind him, memorizing the melody to repeat as howls on assumptions of hills.
My claw is the tale's pen, lightening my way whenever the smell of homes reaches my tame forest. Homes are the death of the wildness in us. When we befriended their owners, we became dogs, guarding goats from the assaults of our brothers. We sit planted like gratis soldiers at masters' doors. We glorify the moment they release our necks from collars of imprisonment, having entirely forgotten how we were the freedom of land, time and magic spells. We have totally forgotten our children, who we left in battles with nights and wails. We forgot and we attacked them as if we never knew them. They killed us. We killed them, and did not notice that the circles in the lake's water were the place's cries for what we have become. We did not notice, not for a moment that our names have also changed.
My memories are preys of fire and distances, how many mothers I have made cry for their sons, how many trees for their squirrels, how many burrows I have effaced from their inhabitants, unsheltered from my curiosity, how many times have I been a symbol in chests of poetry and songs. I have never been one or other; I have been my own prey that I never managed to catch.
I am the face of my ancestors, no longer defending my innocence of the blood of prophets, or my image in holy books. Was it a treachery to I prey on those who permitted my skin for comers from the desire to live to the desire to kill? Was it ferocity to color my teeth with blood to bring enterers to my world back to their consciousness? Was it a feud to feel hungry and scribe my fulfillment on the necks surrenderers to herders' flutes? I am the face of my ancestors; indifferent to impressions, I am what I am. My fur is the balance of nature when she wanted to beautify the color gray in the eyes of earth. I am what I am, every time you place a gate between the space and me, I die, and hollers, that you call wind, arise from my body. I come back with no revenge under my skin, and no desire to kill in my teeth. I come back to free nature of every idea that came out the forest.
Red Riding Hood shouted her story in your faces
I colored my mouth red so you believe
I am her son, and secret lover
I am the wolf who lived alone
With a memory of questions.
Translated from Arabic by Nida Awine
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