It wasn’t easy
reaching the far point of being me
she smiled and said:
“why are you smiling?”
I continued to draw a sort of angles on my lips
a smile as she described
thus, I didn’t know the exact word.
I blew my words:
“today I become thirty”
she looked at me with amasement and said
“thirteen!!!, you look younger than that!!”
I replied:
“no, thirty, three zero, not one three”
she ran away with her eyes and mumbled:
“Oh, I see. Why you lived so long?!!”

I didn’t want to answer..
but during this, she disappeared
leaving a scent of rotten jasmine flowers
her warmth on the leather seat was still radiating her presence

I didn’t have any other choice but to leave
gathering my long age
wearing my charm
losing another part of my body to the ants and worms

I couldn’t find a place for my burial
so, I continued to live
breathing in and out the cold morning sun
a fist of thyme and volcanic rocks promised me mercy
on my journey to the Damous*

I took the corner and sat like a monk
breathed the smell of rotten heart
left by the last friend

at the sight of her smile, I released a sigh of joy
and stopped breathing…
“happy birthday!!”
I heard a sweet voice say
realizing with terror that I was still here
breathing fresh air
opened my eyes
approaching her eyes
finding the distance between three and zero widening
my face blooming with her face

I waited for a moment
of silence and peace
wrapped my love
and spoken the words:
“happy birthday to me”
her face disappeared once again
before me stood my naked body
the mirror reflecting my one and only face
stubble growing on my cheeks and chin
water running in the sink
this is reality….
I pretended to smile and slapped the face in front of me
and said: ” this is what you deserve!!”

29 Nov. 2005

*Damous: dweling caves in the westren mountains of Libya (Jabal Nafousa)