He doesn’t mean to replace everything,
just to add a few things
to the moment when she passed by.
Move a few chairs or a curtain, amplify a sound.
A tweak of the imagination—
things of that sort, nothing more.
So smaller things don’t interfere as much.
The boy, for example:
agitated son of the greengrocer.
His rude gestures need some revision.
Likewise, the retired musician
does not need to lean against the front of the barbershop
in such a vulgar manner.
And the one who was tasting bread—
he would move the bread-taster a little toward the door.
This way, the cat appears more clearly
as she takes her time crossing the street.
The entire scene needed revision,
clarification of its beginnings.
Something to indicate that joy is near.
And he needed to have done that years ago,
instead of carrying them all as they were:
a more honest rendering of that noonday in Damascus.
—Translated by Zina Haj-Hasan and Amro Naddy