If I were another I would have belonged to the road,
neither you nor I would return. Awaken the guitar
and we might sense the unknown and the route that tempts
the traveler to test gravity. I am only
my steps, and you are both my compass and my chasm.
If I were another on the road, I would have
hidden my emotions in the suitcase, so my poem
would be of water, diaphanous, white,
abstract, and lightweight … stronger than memory,
and weaker than dewdrops, and I would have said:
My identity is this expanse!
— Mahmoud Darwish, from “If I Were Another,” The Butterfly’s Burden. Trans. Fady Joudah. (Copper Canyon Press, 2006)