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Yesterday, I handed all my poems to my publisher.
I feel like I handed him my head
and the words I speak from now on
will come out of his mouth.
What a disaster!

Disasters don’t show up one at a time.
They arrive in legions like a starving hoard.
A poet said this then died.
For example, half my family died
and after I celebrated the end of that year
my father died.

Since then I’ve let my poems go.
Every night poets get drunk beneath my window
and dictate wise poems to me.
I loathe wisdom.
I invite them in, slaughter them like fattened sheep
and dine on them,
but I still can’t get my voice back.
I glimpse it through the window, crucified
at the top of the mountain.

I’ve become a mere reflection
of a tree stripped naked in a puddle on the road.
Don’t step over me, shade me
from a sun that might pass overhead
and vaporize my trunk.
Maybe I will speak my peace.

I’ll tell you disasters might die out
if you stopped feeding them firewood,
but you won’t hear me,
and the mountain is made of kindling.

                                        —Dabbouria, Lower Galillee


Read more from our series by Palestinian poets.