ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Somewhere But Here


When you first wrote to me

of the man in the sun,

I took him to be a soldier.

So, I put out the light. I fell

asleep. I dreamt mine fields

of love. Mundane, you’d smirked,

and wrote to me again:

What did you think of my man in the sun?

I thought of August,

I told you, and all my poems

on rain, how they cut down

branches of my tree in

Summer. I thought of Tigris

and Euphrates, how they form

Shat al-Arab and time stood

still between us.


About your man in the sun,

I only dreamt. How does he die?

I wanted to ask.

But, before you could reach out,

and speak differently,

I read the end of your letter:


In your country and mine, old men smoke water – pipes.

As a child, I was scared of thunder as you wondered

whether Mother was safe at work. But, in your country,

unlike mine, you don’t get shot under order, at sight.

While dying inside water tanks, we don’t even cry out

for help. We don’t know how to thump on walls.


We are but linked by paper, after all, and paper,

as you know, burns here throughout the night.


(For Ghassan Kanafani)


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