June 2014
Athens, Georgia, USA


A suicide car bomber shook Beirut on Monday                                                                                               During the World Cup match;
The explosion wounded five people gathered                                                                                                 At a nearby cafe to watch the game.
Or was it nineteen?
It depends on which newspaper you read.                                                                                                      Heavy beads of water beat against the window                                                                                               As she peers through the computer screen portal                                                                                          Into a world that used to be her own.
Brazil beat Cameroon four to one.
A man runs out of the wreckage
Carrying a little girl.
Her pink -shoed feet dangle off his arm.
Or did the blood from her lacerated face
Find its way down to her feet?
Another man running —
Goooooooal! blasts on replay as
Neymar gets the ball in; Brazil is in the lead.                                                                                                     The man looks ahead,
Eyes staring into nothing,
As if he does not feel the weight
Of the woman screaming
In his arms.
Parts of his red shirt are white.
Would the dry Beirut summer leave
The rubble sizzling in the sun
And crisped brown stains on the sidewalk?                                                                                                       Two World Cups ago                                                                                                                                             The Italians celebrated their victory
While fighting raged in the South.                                                                                                                       Everyday numbers that meant nothing                                                                                                             Because we couldn’t see their faces                                                                                                                   Didn’t stop us from going to the pub,                                                                                                                Or shopping, or to the sea.
Hey, we have to live, right?
We watched from our balconies                                                                                                                          Flashing lights like a stroboscope
At Naji Gebran’s Civil War, beachfront,                                                                                                              Musical therapy
Dance parties.
Times haven’t changed,
And we don’t intend to.
A people’s got to live,
And you’re never more alive
Than when death can’t
surprise you.

Mounawar Abbouchi

Mounawar Abbouchi is an origami artist, occasional writer, and eternal student currently based in Beirut. She holds a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Georgia in the USA. Mounawar is the founder of Origami Beirut and teaches English at the Lebanese American University. When she is not grading papers, she is invariably making something with her hands, so she can take pictures of it.

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