Which do you think is resurrection, the soul chiseling its way back into the body, or the body like a doughnut rewrapping itself around a hole?
Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya where he had his primary education. In 1979 he emigrated to the United States. He lived in the South for many years, finishing high school in Louisiana and completing bachelors degrees in political science and economics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He went on to earn an MA in English and an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University where he taught creative writing and won an Academy of American Poets award. A professor of English and Creative Writing at California State University, Northridge, he has published poems in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, New England Review,Callaloo, Poetry East, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, Black Warrior Review and The Pushcart Prize anthology. He was awarded the Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University for 1995-96.
Khaled Mattawa, from Benghazi, 1963
Maryam was the maid when I was four, when she came to me with pieces of strawberry candy in her hands. She smiled when I reached, and her eyes shone brighter than the dim glow of her silver tooth. In the storage room she cupped my groin, her hands sticky with sugar and sweat. She held me to her thighs until my forehead burned. "I want to throw up," I cried, and like it started it ended--in silence. With familiar hands she bathed me, tucked me in to sleep. She was the maid again, the sister who sang lullabies at night, the dark one who fed the children and the sheep.