Arab Spring in Berlin
I turned down the offer of a dowry
& we hitched a ride to the airport
at twilight from Damascus to Berlin,
to start a new life.
Syria started burning soon after we arrived.
First, the revolution in Egypt had to be televised.
We made love on the balcony overlooking Tiergarten
as CNN live streamed the revolution.
I was full, dreaming of the castles we would build.
Every light in the skyline was a votive candle
& then I was overtaken with fear of pregnancy,
worrying that my hasty longing
had brought new life into the world.
Crimson trickles broke the terror—
I bled the everyday blood we (women) shed—
the reassurance that life continues
even when death prevails—
while the shahids were martyred on Tahrir Square.
When I waved goodbye to you in the U-Bahn,
the station’s cement blending with the night,
I felt like those revolutionary fools
who cast fear aside
because they believed that it was right,
opening my arms to the world.
Rebecca Ruth Gould is the author of Cityscapes (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), and Writers and Rebels (Yale University Press, 2016). She is the translator of High Tide of the Eyes (The Operating System, 2019), After Tomorrow the Days Disappear (Northwestern University Press, 2016), and Prose of the Mountains (CEU Press, 2015).