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In Gaza a Mother Never Sleeps

Ne'ma Hasan

She listens to the dark, searches its edges, sorts out sounds– sound

by sound– to select a suitable story to read her kids to sleep.

When they sleep, she stands up to shield them from death.


A mother in Gaza does not cry. She folds up

fear, rage, and prayers in her lungs, and waits

for the hum of warplanes to fade, then exhales.


A mother in Gaza is not like other mothers. She bakes bread

with her own eyes’ salt. She feeds her children to the homeland.

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Translated by Mosab Abu Toha

Was Eid a Trap?

Ne'ma Hasan

wonders the child, whose balloon’s just popped.

The grave where he rests with his mother and five siblings brims

with gifts. But he can’t run along with the kite. It is crumpling

in the room’s crumpling corner, still shuddering off the dust.

‘Dad’s going to fix it,’ he’s certain as he heads to bed, his coffin.


The girl in the hospital cot who lost an arm, wonders, ‘can I still

hold my blonde toy?’ and ‘is it true arms can die too, mother?’


The junk seller carries off the wheelchair’s remains.

After the last airstrike, he excels at burying his wares, doesn’t sell them.

Who excels at altering the war plan, raise a middle finger or shut up.


Translated by Mosab Abu Toha

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