“Fourteen thousand photos on the walls / In fourteen thousand fathers’ pockets sipping grief.” | by Nasser Sabah

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Dunya Mikhail

DUNYA MIKHAIL is an Iraqi American poet and writer. She has received fellowships from the United States Artists, the Guggenheim, and Kresge. Her honors also include the Arab American Book Award, and UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. Her book The War Works Hard was shortlisted for International Griffin Poetry Prize. New Directions

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The War Works Hard

“The war works hard, day and night. / It is a muse for the tyrant’s / long speeches, / it hangs medals around generals, / it blesses poets with themes, / it makes the makers busy—” | by Dunya Mikhail

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The retired man The brown crane-like boy The woman with the blue shawl And the poet with the diamond heart Are waiting for the red bus That will take them. The retired man to: Cafe “Hasan Ajmi” The brown crane-like boy To the boy scout center The woman with the blue shawl: To al-Mansoor And

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She Didn’t Come

She didn’t come. I said: And she won’t… so let me rearrange the evening with what suits my failure and her absence: I put out the flame of her candles, I turned on the electric lights, drank her wine then broke the glass and switched the music: from the swift elegant necktie (to relax more)

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A blind man roams God’s twenty one villages alone wearing his blindness like a treasure. He strikes out in loss, and in loss his staff leads him. Sometimes he fancies that the earth is his friend’ wherever his feet end up he is the drinker and the watering hole. He inquires into things about which

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Nothing Here Is Enough

I need a parrot identical days a quantity of needles and spoiled ink to make history. I need veiled eyelids black lines and ruined puppets to make geography. I need a sky wider than longing and water that is not H2O to make wings. The days are no longer enough to distinguish the missing I

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