Poetry from NER 43.2 (2022)
Haram to leave scraps of bread on the road.
(Put them aside for insects and birds)
Haram to turn your back on food—the same food cooked over and over again.
(Eat it gratefully)
Haram to steal from people’s rations.
(Steal from shops)
Haram to look at your naked mother.
(Look at her wound)
Haram to desert a refugee camp.
(Carry it with you)
Haram to forge your father’s signature.
(Tell them he is dead)
Haram to dwell on time.
(Kill it at once)
Haram to mourn excessively.
(Cry in anticipation)
Haram not to surrender your morbid thoughts.
(Lie to the imagination)
Haram not to be breastfed for two terms.
(Sense the ending)
Haram to see all things.
(Eyes for the temporary)
Haram to write over writing.
(Bodies are bare)
Haram not to hear the bombing.
(I hear it in one ear)
Haram to hunt down metonymies.
(Drag them from the heart)
Haram to see the body stark naked.
(Bodies are martyrs)
Haram not to ponder with every breath.
Haram to cut trees and desecrate forests.
Haram to stare at faces—and look and look.
(See not a human)
Haram to kiss while quenched.
(Expansive lands are lips)
Haram to want what you do not have.
(Sustenance is for tomorrow)
Haram to envy the dead.
(Envy only the anonymous in dying)
Haram not to return home.
(My mother’s cane is long forlorn)
Haram to shave in front of your father.
(Poetry and hair are ostensibly the same)
Haram to be occupied by vowels.
(Letters of ailment leave my soul)
Haram to borrow the neighbor’s barrow.
(The bearer is another doubt)
Haram not to love the ill.
(Aleph is sane and sound)
Haram to translate the name.
(Ninety-nine names belong to God)
Haram to hold your breath.
(Air is a language)
Haram to promise a name before birth.
(A stray bullet pronounces the dead)
Haram to implore the United Nations in spite of God.
(Food perishes in the mouth)
Haram to dislike your sister’s poetry.
(Hate her husband)
Haram not to attend to the missing plants in your imagination.
(Water the ungraspable)
Haram to fight over the scarce.
(Fragility is a second coming)
Haram to remember for your parents.
(Senility shall come)
Haram to write for your mother.