poem index

Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea [The martyr couldn't believe his eyes]

Dunya Mikhail
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 tears into a flower.
In this way he sings.

A wave breaking outside the sea.
In this way I go on.

From Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea, by Dunya Mikhail, translated from the Arabic by Elizabeth Winslow. Copyright © 2009. Used by permission of New Directions. All rights reserved.

Dunya Mikhail

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