Since the revolution
flowers have expanded.
Goats have invaded and continue to advance. The wild birds sing to the tamed trees:
How long will these roofs oppress you?
Five minutes from Tahrir Square we sit in a bar to watch
Tahrir Square on a wide-screen television.
That is just down the road, you say. Like democracy.
We sit in a bar and wait for democracy to come and join us.
Each time the door opens we hear crowds screaming.
It just turned violent, someone says.
We order another beer, you smoke another cigarette. We will have to wait to go home.
Good Morning Al Saqqara! Good Morning!
Loud, joyful, he throws the words.
One man dancing across the street, before he sees the newspaper,
his bed fresh, empty, the sun not yet angry.
One woman forgets in the morning, even after the violence, everything but
love, stretching over the Nile, into her eyes.
Merhaba she whispers, so the whole country hears.
Goodness is still growing here and
can be bought in contraband stores.
Sometimes Cairo feels dangerous like the sun has come out with a knife.
Less people are out. It is quiet.
The sun cuts.
The imams are angry. They shout angry prayers for justice to a God
who gave them only noise and silence. Someone
throws a Molotov cocktail heavenward.
On the market stalls at Nasser Station
a man with a small brush
shakes the dust from rows of unsold sunglasses
back onto the street.
It will repeat itself. It will
repeat again. Here and elsewhere, until they
release us, we will be creating the
shape of justice with human bodies.
When the demons in you grow stronger,
so too the light becomes stronger.
The rusty cockerel competes with the husky iman
to be the first to shake us from our sleep.
Images courtesy of Catriona Knapman.
Catriona Knapman is a Scottish writer and human rights worker. Originally from Glasgow she has lived in nine countries in four continents over the past ten years. Her poems have been published widely in journals in the UK and internationally. She brought her first solo poetry show ‘Out On The World’ to the Edinburgh 2016 Fringe, where she was runner up in the Stanza Best Poem of the Fringe Award.
accessible written and visual outputs.