River of Time

River of Time

Billions of gleaming molecules flow out of the earth, upstream,
different between them, unique,
yet forming a powerful unity.
They quench oak trees and pines
which rise majestically toward an azure infinity,
shading a small meadow covered by a wealthy grass,
paradise for goats.
The barge crawls and her motion is imperceptible,
with the illusion that nothing will ever change,
but she wishes
with all her strength,
to reach the sea.

When she sees again this place in her imagination,
it is full of colors and shades,
vivid and living,
basil, spearmint, honey, and old books scents wrap up her memory.

Clouds and haze wrap up the barge now,
she is sinking in greening and damp slopes;
few weird shapes are distinguishable here and there.
She is carried downstream,
violently buffeted in an outfall,
slowing down on another occasion.

She feels pungent pain in her bones,
as if her body had been ballasted
with a heavy burden.

She tries desperately to cling on a big bough,
The flow grows until she gives up;
she continues her infernal race,
her sight completely blurred.

The wood is damp and stinky,
The barge is filling up with water slowly.

Eventually she slows down;
rises at a few hundred meters a hydroelectric factory,
over the river passes a highway,
Suffocated by the smell of gasoil,
She wonders if she will ever go beyond the factory’s dam.

She closes her eyes
thinking of the upriver meadow,
remembering how a goat drinking in the river
stared at her strangely,
wondering whether the goat meant to warn her.

The barge has passed the factory,
thrilled by this great victory,
toasting the sea.

The barge is losing momentum,
the river is dividing into small artificial channels
standing water covered by green algae.
Where is the sea?
What is the sea?
The barge silts up,
ladies and gentlemen,
the trip ends here, gloriously,
in a potato field.

Past is upstream and future is downstream,
according to the energy conservation law,
the time should flow from the past to the future
in a steady and irreversible way.

Erik Vincenti Zakhia