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Poetry

I Look Around Me

By Iman Mersal
Translated from Arabic by Khaled Mattawa

With the alertness of a creature
expecting its demise
I usually look around me.
Perhaps that is why
my neck has a strength
that does not match my body,
and what is surprising
is that I do not foresee live bullets
from empty side streets
or scissors-
as a silent way of killing-
but flashing glances
from eyes I barely glimpse
but that can do
what must be done.

English

With the alertness of a creature
expecting its demise
I usually look around me.
Perhaps that is why
my neck has a strength
that does not match my body,
and what is surprising
is that I do not foresee live bullets
from empty side streets
or scissors-
as a silent way of killing-
but flashing glances
from eyes I barely glimpse
but that can do
what must be done.

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