These poems by the Iraqi visual artist and poet Ali Rashid have been translated from Arabic by Dr. Saleh Razzouk and Scott Minar.
—to Wasfi, my brother who vanished 30 years ago during the war
In the morning we share cigarettes, and coffee.
I drink it mixed with bitterness, you reach for it with a frail hand.
You are with me wearing your wet shirt,
And your saddened draped
You cling to your agonized girlfriend
Carrying your suitcase with
You are still soft
Like someone whose life has not
Now you look for horses to carry you up to skies,
But you are slowing down this exile meant to end a corruption that swallowed our waiting.
I know your return is impossible.
Feeling the panicked pains inside me again
Whenever dreams invade me.
I know also this war depends on remorse
Because it peeled off your soft years greedily.
The southerners are the vintage of the country, and its navel.
Its herbs that awaken miracles, its fruits that have been longed for by the skies.
Songs chase them, elegies and wars, but bullets stitch their corpses when
The southerners in my country are the image of god, and his liquid absence.