153 article(s) translated from Arabic

War

Men plan wars And women survive in the rubble One day there will be no men And a woman will pursue another In search of the scent of the last man Who touched his lips to her neck. © Manal Al-Sheikh.…...

My Body

A body that is the one I borrowed the first night with you . . .  I watch it every night running toward a waveless sea where the sand of age rests in its veins . . . The wearied ships land in its…...

On Death

When we die the words we haven’t said yet turn to bubbles to inflate the body and smuggle it from the grave while the cemetery keeper sleeps. But we run up against the stone slab over our bodies,…...

Downtown

My share of sleep: four hours eleven minutes.
 I roll my pierced heart across the bedcover: it slams into the door, leaving
 a line of mud behind. I believe a tree
 will come one night…...

A Stray Bullet

After crossing the living room, the library, the corridor and the photo that brings us together on a trip to Nahr al-Kalb, and after passing by the washer and my mother (exhausted in spite of the washer),…...

Isolation

It's hot, hot enough to suffocate. There is nothing except this table upon which I sleep, a rectangular hall with four doors and twelve windows. On each side a door. On the shorter sides, two windows,…...

A Condition

You’re certain that nothing will dissuade you now. Nothing. Not your neighbors’ invitation to the luncheon to celebrate their boys’ circumcision. Not the kind old lady’s pleading…...

Conjunctions

Doves! Doves flying on a horizon of signs and metaphors. I can never hear the word “doves,” nor think of it unexpectedly, without picturing them flying as if they were the horizon's capricious…...

The Sad Portuguese

Luis Carvalho was the “sad Portuguese”—that is what they called him, or at least what we called him, we the children in the neighborhoods of Sif, Mahallat al-Pasha, Nadhran, and Bllush,…...

Bled Dry

The Casablanca night doesn’t really begin until after midnight, but after midnight, anything goes. Nezha was wondering where Hammadi would want to finish off the evening. They left La Falaise at…...

from “The Amman Bride”

We really needed to talk. This was a difficult situation that we needed to find a way out of. He absolutely refused to share me with anyone else, and he wasn't prepared to lead a life with me where…...

The Green Zone Rabbit

Before the egg appeared, I would read a book about law or religion every night before going to sleep. Like my rabbit, I would be most active in the hours around dawn and sunset. Salsal, on the other hand,…...

Salman and the Mule Suicides

My acquaintance with Salman extends back to our military service, to the winter of 1984, I think. In that year I began to serve in a series of units that fought in the mountains, cities, and canebrakes…...

Be Quiet, Soldiers

At the Ajeerda divide, the strip of land that separates the marshes on the eastern side, east of the city of Amarah, we were gathered into deeply dug-out positions. Thousands of soldiers, dressed in khaki…...

A Portal in Space

The Friday bombardment started a little later than usual, at 8:30 a.m. The sound was loud and clear. Umm Anwar sighed, and her pain showed clearly in her expression. Furrowing her brow and ready to explode,…...

The One-Eyed TV

Just as the thirteenth year of my life started, the Iraqi-Iran war began. Before it was even a year old, my oldest brother was killed and one of my cousins was taken as a prisoner of war. That is when…...

Merrymaking

He is not a tightrope walker, a snake charmer, or a tiger tamer. His hands are empty no charm or sleight to them, and he does not have any puppets, hoops, pungis, or whips—his mere body is his only…...

Music in a Baghdad Alley

No matter where you settle or wander That first melody is yours At every arrival and departure Its living face will meet you at the entrance that remains If you walk and the opposing wind is in your face…...

In Saadi Shirazi’s Garden (When He Was a Prisoner)

The river flows. Guides hide in the woods. I am a single day dragging an apocalypse of days. Wounded battalions smelling the burning air through the dried blood on the nose. Because the city of water is…...

The Arab Altar

The last thing on our minds was celebrating our wedding, after we had waited so long, to the sound of air raid sirens and the reverberation of Dushka guns targeting the Iranian airplanes attacking Baghdad.…...

The Mulberry Tree

My city—Mosul—was economical even in its delights. During its unhurried spring, which was fragrant with the scents of grass and wild flowers, there were only a few places for people to go on…...

A Butterfly in New York

I chased it so often in our Baghdad garden But it would always fly away Today Three decades later In another continent It perched on my shoulder Blue Like the sea’s thoughts Or the tears of a dying…...

Your Body Journeyed Off

Each time I’ve approached it, my personal effects have scattered. The smell of a journey clings to your body. Each time I’ve approached you, I’ve packed my personal effects. Your body…...

Autumn Here is Magical and Vast

A bloody shaft of light shone under our door between their compass & the north star so the road passed through our house out toward the estuary. Its stones are our tears which silted in our chests…...

Stories from “The Hedgehog”

My Invisible Friend My mother went to call on her neighbor Umm Baha’. She refused to take me with her, giving the excuse that women visit women and men visit men, and she left me at home alone, promising…...