poem index


Dunya Mikhail

Printer-friendly version

Dunya Mikhail is the author of several books, including The Iraqi Nights (New Directions, 2014); Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea (New Directions, 2009), winner of the 2010 Arab American Book Award for Poetry; and The War Works Hard (New Directions, 2005). Her honors include the Kresge Artist Fellowship and the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. She currently lives in Michigan, where she works as an Arabic lecturer at Oakland University.

by this poet

How magnificent the war is!

How eager

and efficient!

Early in the morning

it wakes up the sirens

and dispatches ambulances

to various places

swings corpses through the air

rolls stretchers to the wounded

summons rain

from the eyes of mothers

digs into the earth

dislodging many things

from under the
The martyr couldn't believe his eyes
when his tomb was bombed
as he braided a garland for his beloved—
a red garland,
yet...on the way to heaven ...
it turned white.
He bent toward the water with a small rainbow clutched in his hand.

In this way he makes music.
He lifts is hands to the clouds and braids her