حرث الشيخ حقلا عاد يزرعه
أذق..... انواع الزنازين
هدمت منازلي جوراء مدرسة
حار ابن الشيخ حقلا عاش يزرعه
ازق بين أنواع الزنازين
هدمت منازلي جراء غطرسة
طلبت الحق يا محتل مغتصب
فأي النار عن حقي ستثنيني
دم الشهداء في عنقي سأحمله
فيا أماه انتفضي فلاقيني
لننثرها زهور الدم ساخنة
كما النيران في ثغر البراكين
رباط الدم يا أماه يربطنا
فلا تخشي رصاصات السلاطين
You’ve burned the sheikh’s field, worth a lifetime of planting
and fed him a variety of jail cells instead.
My homes you’ve demolished, in a school’s vicinity
Bewildered, the sheikh’s son sought a field to live cultivating
only narrow alleyways between varieties of jail cells.
You’ve demolished my homes in your hubris
and you’ve demanded my rights, you occupier, you rapist!
But which fire will keep me from what is mine?
I will carry the blood of martyrs around my neck,
O Mother, rise up and meet me!
like fires in the mouths of volcanoes,
we have the scalding blossoms of blood to scatter
O mother, the bond of blood is what binds us,
do not fear the bullets of sultans!
-Amany El-Regeb, 16, martyred in Gaza, Oct. 13, 2023, translated by Aiya Sakr.
Translator's Statement: Amany El-Regeb was a cousin of mine, and I only learned of her when I heard of her passing. I found only a few snippets of her work online, barely audible above the tin of low audio quality, and so what we have left of her voice are fragments. Listening hard enough to transcribe her words was an exercise in patience, in connection, and in haunting. Since I cannot ask her what she’s saying, her manuscript lost to bombing and rubble, here are a few possible variations of a fragment of a poem which I translated. What I do know is she read this poem at a commemoration of Land Day at Al-Quds Open University in Khan Younis on March 30th, 2022.
Your names are the only language
that hold any meaning penned into the skin
of your own limbs by you
in living, by the burier, after.
Even this “even this” is rot.
So give me Arabic
with fewer digits to tray
Aiya Sakr (she/they) is a Palestinian-American poet and artist. They are the author of Her Bones Catch the Sun (The Poet’s Haven, 2018). A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in Palette, Mizna, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She is a Winter 2023 Tin House Fellow and the founder of We the Imagined Poetry Workshop for Arab Women Poets. They have served as Poetry Editor for Sycamore Review, and as Poetry Coordinator for Unootha Magazine's Summer Writing Program. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Purdue University, where she currently teaches. She collects buttons, and is enthusiastic about birds.
Asma Barakat is a Palestinian tatreez artist based in the United States. She received her MA in Sociology from The New School (2023) with a focus on race, ethnicity, and settler-colonialism. Asma has authored news briefs published by the Institute for Palestine Studies and continues to work in Palestinian advocacy and knowledge production. To view her embroidery, visit @TatreezFalasteen on Instagram.
Baba once mentioned how Palestinians were the patient dough of the Taboon. No matter how much we are kneaded, beaten, and stretched beyond our limits, our capacity for hope is supernatural. Taboon, even burnt beyond recognition, is still Taboon.
He wears winter and searches for another land, / Where he will say to the raining clouds, / To sow the sea in a land other than the one we know. / Hope was the last breath of the traveler, / Hope was his land.