African Grandmothers Lacking the wings of an eagle, resigned, she admires the distant moon, cuddling cats and dogs no longer asking them where our neighbours have gone. She spends all her time at home and school, reading or asking how the earth was made. Unable to find the stairs to the stars, and seeing that God won’t answer her questions, Sara wants me to give her the names and the surnames of our African grandmothers whom Darwin declined to mention in his book.
Eclipses There are people who starve to death, others who sleep rough in the winter, and then there are those who fly from one end of the earth to the other to gape at eclipses.
By Ribka Sibhatu
Translated by André Naffis-Sahely
From Aulò! Aulò! Aulò!
Published by Poetry Translation Centre (2020)
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Ribka Sibhatu is a poet, writer and human rights activist. Self-exiled from Eritrea since 1982, she has lived in Ethiopia, France and Italy. She works as a court interpreter in Rome. She published her first book of poems, Aulò! Canto poesia dall’Eritrea in 1993 and in 2011 a bilingual edition of Tigrinya folklore, Il numero esatto delle stelle e altre fiabe eritree (both with Sinnos).
André Naffis-Sahely is an author and translator from Abu Dhabi, born in Venice to an Iranian father and an Italian mother. He has published The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin, 2017) and The Other Side of Nowhere (Rough Trade Books, 2019). He is the editor of The Heart of a Stranger: An Anthology of Exile Literature (Pushkin Press, 2020) and has translated Honoré de Balzac, Émile Zola, Abdellatif Laâbi, Tahar Ben Jelloun and Frankétienne.