Libya: Bedtime Reading for the Unborn Child (excerpt) | Khaled Mattawa

Long after the sun falls into the sea
and twilight slips off the horizon like a velvet sheet
and the air gets soaked in blackness;
long after clouds hover above like boulders
and stars crawl up and stud the sky;
long after bodies tangle, dance, and falter
and fatigue blows in and bends them
and sleep unloads its dreams and kneads them
and sleepers dive into the rivers inside them,
a girl unlatches a window,
walks shoeless into a forest,
her dark hair a flag rippling in darkness.


Khaled Mattawa was born and raised in Benghazi, Libya. He relocated to the United States as a teenager in 1979. He received an undergraduate degree in political science and economics from the University of Tennessee; an MA and an MFA from Indiana University, where he also won an award from the Academy of American Poets; and a PhD from Duke University.

The African Book Review is posting a poem from each of Africa’s 55 countries over the next few weeks. Poem suggestions can be sent through the comments form below. ‘Like’ us on FacebookTwitter, and Tumblr to read all the poems.

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