We Die Here (Syria, 2016)

Tasting death is for everyone,

here, there. We will die here,

not on ground that doesn’t know us,

not floating face down in foreign waters,

not penned in a camp.


Here, in sight of neighbors

who know our names,

our barrel-bombed

apartment building’s collapse

killing them too.


Here is her laundry rope

tangled in his feet.

I know the shape

of that particular teapot

as I die on my street.



A professor of comparative literature and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Arkansas since 1995, Mohja Kahf is the author of E-mails from Scheherazad (poetry), The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (novel)and Hagar Poems. She is working on a manuscript of love poems, and a manuscript of new poems about Syria.



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