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Waleed al-Akkad



Soldiers play hide and seek with children.

Children hide, soldiers draw them out with bombs.




They weren’t branches, our bones

scattered over the water tank, they weren’t

whirlwind, nor tornado. Everything’s

been burned up in one blast.


After an anonymous shell,

the tender bird’s silent forever.


Under fire, we sat sad with fear

that death might fall over our heads.


One roof above another roof.

That’s how we knew houses:

by the smell of their grief,

by the colors of windows,

and all their ashen love letters.


Houses welded to their dwellers:

a body to a wall,

bones to iron,

mud to blood,

memory to death.


Gather up our screams, all of them.

Hide them in hoarse voices,

or death will hear us.

The bullet wants to flirt with me.

Her tongue licks my chest.

And when she reaches climax,

she pulls out my heart.


The day we call Eid disperses

into void, fearful void.


The soldier once enjoyed killing

children as if giving a Christmas gift

to his daughter. Now he looks down


and in his eyes we are unworthy.

So, he doesn’t release his trigger,

but stops to scratch his ass.

Translated by Tayseer Abu Odeh

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