Hussam Jefee-Bahloul

I don’t know what happened exactly
what I’ve been told
is that I left Lattakia
in a mysterious way

some say I was smuggled
alongside migrants
illegal goods
local tobacco
and aged wine aboard an old Suzuki truck
to Turkey,  Greece,   then Hungary,
and miraculously   America,
    at last…

some say who left was somebody else
somebody who bears my name
    my ID and a fake passport
who has my eye color
my curly hair
and an irregular poetic period
whispering, others said
I stayed behind somewhere discreet
    jumping roofs at night
a thief looking for love
    in that schizophrenic town

cynics contrived other rumors
    that I died
chocking on my tears
    or dehydrated from excessive weeping
or overdosed on my pills and perished
a fortunate martyr
as they won’t pray for my corpse

the insightful bunch
claim I never existed
for my absence to make such noise
and all that happened
    was merely a well-plotted dream
directed by Steven Spielberg
according to me
the protagonist of this anecdote
all I know is that I left the country
leaving behind
a tree
growing alone in a marble-floored apartment
    on a seventh floor
    with arrogant balconies
    that cleanse the drought of the Mediterranean
    with jasmine
and an endless thirst
in that land of holy…
    holy hysteria.