Ashraf Fayadh: ‘The Last of the Line of Refugee Descendants’

Arabic Literature (in English)

This poem, from Instructions Within (2008), was translated by Jonathan Wright:

You give the world indigestion, and some other problems.
Don’t force the ground to vomit,
and stay close to it, very close.
A fracture that can’t be set,
A fraction that can’t be resolved
or added to the other numbers,
so you give rise to a certain confusion in global statistics.

Being a refugee means standing at the end of the queue
to get a fraction of a country.
Standing is something your grandfather did, without knowing the reason.
And the fraction is you.
The country: a card you put in your wallet with your money.
Money: pieces of paper with pictures of leaders.
Pictures: they stand in for you until you go back.
Going back: a mythical creature that appears in your grandfather’s stories.
Here endeth the first lesson.
The lesson is conveyed to you so that you can…

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