"All humans are members of the same body Created from one essence"

"Human beings are members of a whole in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain."

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Dunya Mikhail

Born in Iraq in 1965, Dunya Mikhail is famous for her subversive, innovative, and satirical poetry.

Nonmilitary Statements


Yes, I did write in my letter
that I would wait for you forever
I didn't mean exactly "forever"
I just included it for the rhythm.

No, he was not among them.
There were so many of them!
More than I've seen in my life
on any television screen.
And yet he was not among them
he has eyes
and gestures
and anxiety
but he was not among them.

It has no carvings
or hands.
It always remains there
in front of the television
this empty chair.

I dream of a magic wand
that changes my kisses to stars
at night you can gaze at them
and know they are innumerable.

I thank everyone I don't love.
They don't cause me heartache
they don't make me write long letters
they don't disturb my dreams
I don't await them anxiously
I don't read their horoscopes in magazines
I don't dial their numbers
I don't think of them.
I thank them a lot
they don't turn my life upside down.

For the sake of the scenery
I immigrated to this city.
I gradually begin to get closer
to its plastic trees
and the view folds up around me
like a picture book of flowers does
to a breathless butterfly.

Why, my dears?
Why do you come
only in my dreams?

I drew a door
and sat behind it
ready to open it
as soon as you arrive.

By Dunya Mikhail

Translated from Arabic by Elizabeth Ann Winslow. She is a fiction writer and a graduate of Iowa Writer's Workshop. Her translation of Dunya Mikhail's The War Works Hard won the PEN prize for translation.

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