Friday Finds: ‘How to Find Your Mother In Her Portrait’

For Day Three of Women in Translation Month (#WITMonth), we have Iman Mersal’s “How to Find Your Mother In Her Portrait,” translated by Robin Moger, which appears in the Spring 2018 issue of the Michigan Quarterly Review:

Iman Mersal

A short excerpt is available online. It opens:

When my mother died in the mid-seventies, her only extant portrait took on a greater significance. To the little girl that was me, this portrait had to be a document of the moment in which, for the first and last time, I stood beside my mother in a studio unaware that less than two months later she would die. Yet, I never had the sense that the woman in the photograph was my mother. Perhaps it was the anxious expression she turned to the lens, as though, having stepped out of her domestic fortress, she now stood powerless. Perhaps it is the dress she is wearing, one I only ever saw her in once or twice on expeditions into town. Or maybe the hair that hangs down to her waist, which day-to-day would be plaited into two long braids running round her head in opposite directions.

Keep reading at the Michigan Quarterly Review.

Also read:

Iman Mersal, Stepping Away from Poetry

Friday Finds: Iman Mersal on Saniya Salih

A Holiday Gift: Ten Poems from Iman Mersal