I Suffer a Phobia Called Hope

translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah

Each time I hear that word
I recall the disappointments
that were committed in its name:
the children who don’t return,
the ailments that are never cured,
the memory that’s never senile,
all of them hope crushed
beneath its wings as I smash
this mosquito on my daughter’s head.


The grieving have only the unknown.
It’s their only staple and inheritance.
Pain has no logic. All things redeem
the grieving except your rational questions.


I wish that no one goes
and no one comes.
All going is a stroke of myth
and each return
a punctured lung.


From You Can Be the Last Leaf by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat and Fady Joudah. Copyright © 2022 by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat and Fady Joudah. Reprinted with the permission of the Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Milkweed Editions.