Wednesday, May 12, 2021

I Don’t Ask Anymore by Maya Abu-Alhayyat

I Don’t Ask Anymore

How many kids you have,
where you live
or what your profession is:
I don’t care. Maybe I care
how you spend your day
or pass the long nights in anguish,
how you treat your chronic illness,
seasonal allergies, swellings,
your method with longing,
how you avoid toxic videos
and never stop on the street
when everyone else stops.
Tell me how you crossed the street
after you were released
from long detention —
it matters to me
what you’re thinking now
as you coerce your kids to sleep
in the middle of shelling,
as you sweep off them
the ghost of death in nightmares.
I don’t ask anymore
about your land or religion,
maybe I care
how you were tortured
in the first or second intifada
and other wars. How you took care
of your pills and fears,
escaped destiny by chance,
through teargas,
and the tank in the city square.
Your name, your age,
what you look like don’t matter.
You passed through here
like a miracle.
(Translated by Fady Joudah)


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