The Hayyani Epistle: What the author of Book of the Sultan’s Seal said after the events of 2011

What the author of Book of the Sultan’s Seal said about his companion, the protagonist of the novel and hero of the tale, after the events in the World’s Gate, or Downtown Cairo, from February to November 2011.

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Mohammed El Mazrouie: The angels fly

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—You were waiting there,

not parting from the threshold.

Neither night after night

nor morning after morning

could wipe off your eyes the elongated picture of a soul,

of the trunk of a soul.

—Did anyone drink from your mouth

except those mood swings

when the moon takes control of your body’s waters?

—You were smiling,

you were happy,

behaving like a child,

trying to stretch your head

to receive something… from me.

I

ignored you

as if I couldn’t see you.

I did not want to face your eyes

because your eyes asked a lot of questions.

You run

and (what no one sees)

your feet bump into animals

that scurry from your path.

Half of you is covered in wheat straw

and your soul is naked.

Mohammed El Mazrouie

Translated from Arabic by Youssef Rakha