by Widad Ben Moussa, translated from the Arabic by Bacem A. Essam
You are as subtle as water,
On wiping off my flesh the spatter
Of the very pain register.
لك رقة الماء
وانت تمحو عن جسدى سيرة الألم
Your thirst: do you remember it?
There, only me could get it slaked
عطشك هل تذكره؟
لم يكن يحلو له غير نبعى
Love would be tight
Were it ever compared
To my ineffable sentiment
الحب ضيق جدا
أمام شساعة عواطفى
Into love, I deeply swim
Outward, I then climb;
Chanting in your name.
أغوص عميقا فى الحب
أصعد إلى السطح
I do NOT possess a wing to fly,
But I have, here, enough joy
Thereby I can flap up high.
لا أملك الجناح
by Marilyn Hacker, Translated from the English by Rana Issa and Suneela Mubayi
In her 1986 collection Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons,* American poet and translator Marilyn Hacker writes what could be described as a novel-in-verse, telling a first-person story about falling head over heels in love with Rachel, in a breathless romance that throttles through its own track towards heartbreak while the poet’s daily life continues to press and prod on. A child in tow, a teaching job, and life’s other mundane routines clash with the tempo of the exploding romance that takes her to France, to produce a
by Yuri Herrera, translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman
The bottle of juice began vibrating like a telephone. I brought it to my ear and heard nothing, then came a riiing riiing, tho more like a deep gravelly ruhhhn ruhhhn, as the bottle vibrated. I unscrewed it and brought it to my ear and heard someone say:
“The pot, uncover the soup pot.”
And the call dropped.
I hung up, or rather, screwed back on, and put the juice back in the refrigerator.
“Who was it?” she asked from the bedroom.
“Nobody,” I said.
I turned and touched the pot. Still warm, even tho it had been a
by Ahmad Shafie, translated from the arabic by Humphrey Davies
The poem is by Egyptian writer Ahmad Shafei and comes from his verse collection: 77 (Cairo: Kutubkhan, 2017), where it is untitled but numbered 51. Translated by Humphrey Davies
have no hands.
They don’t expect a crutch
in old age
Or a pat on the back
in their moment of weakness
Or a goodbye wave.
They sing it and don’t care.
They shit in the air.
They wing it.
They die alone.
لا يدي لها
لا تنتظر في شيخوختها
ولا في ضعفها
.لا تلويحة في وداع
.تزقزقها ولا تبالي
I crouch down to hug her but she smacks my arm and says, “Are you seriously that much taller than me?”
Dina ((All names have been changed to maintain anonymity. All drawings belong to an unnamed inmate and shared with her permission. All photos belong to the interviewee.)) was the shortest of her family, her petite frame no match for the blunt (some would say rude) voice she emitted. I hadn’t seen her in a while, not since she moved to Oman for her teaching job at an elementary school. Every time I did though, she’d ask
Late November, Saturday evening, 7pm. The launch party is about to begin in a traditional, high-ceilinged Lebanese house, now an art and performance space. Rima rushes about, checking on the food, the sound system, the newly delivered boxes of Rusted Radishes, while I try to stay out of the way. I wander down the hall and back, admire the tall, arched windows of the room where a microphone is set up, then return to the front of the building, curious about the organization that now occupies it. In the entry room, which holds bookshelves and a coffee menu, a young
As the 10 a.m. sun blazes through closed windows, Em Suheil sits in the middle of her living room and works on her morning crossword puzzles. She’s just finished reading the day’s news from the expansive pages of Annahar and is now on to the second item on her list. She squints her eyes and licks her lips once or twice, in speculation. She leans back in her long, burgundy velvet robe, with her glasses arched exactly at the tip of her nose and her head tipped back just enough to read the paper.
Just as her morning show is