Nawal Naffaa: “Slip”





I count up the corpses and aircraft
Falling in pieces from the news
I count the bullets that are exhumed,
The bullets that are buried
And the bullets preparing
To be shot loose.
I follow the ritual of food.
I finish my plate
By eating the plate
After a backbreaking day of the work I do.

When did I get this heartless?
Tomorrow, I’ll make room in a corner of your chest
Where I can cry
And I just might exhume the corpse out of my chest
And prepare a ritual
Of proper burial.


اعُدّ الجثث والطائرات
المتساقطة من نشرات الاخبار
اعد الرصاصات المنزوعة
الرصاصات المدفونة
والرصاصات الجاهزة
واتابع طقوس الطَعام
آتي على الطبق
آكل الطبق
بعد يوم عمل شاق!

متى اصبحت قاسية هكذا؟
غداً أفسِحُ لي ركناً في صدركَ
كي ابكي هناك
فقد انزِع الجثث من صدري
وأُعِدّ طقوساً لائقةً لدفنها




Palestinian poet Nawal Naffaa was born in 1970.

She writes in Arabic.

To create in two “languages” – painting and poetry – holds

great meaning for her and she often strives to merge the two

via “painting within writing – using metaphor in poetry”.

“Slip” captures – in strong, simple metaphors – the

“stunning”  effectiveness, the “numbing”  capability,

in acts of war.


For this translation from Arabic into English

we are grateful to A. Z. Foreman.

Visit his site: