Mona Kareem

Laughing, the woman slaps her face,
How is it possible?
Everything is possible––
rays leaking through the cracks
the woman is as blue as cold
carries the lab results in an envelope
she will slide the envelope under the door
the man will come in with a melody of water
and when they play together the song
of the possible and probable,
the angel's feet will get wet
with the melody

Mona Kareem is the author of three poetry collections, and most recently, the trilingual chapbook Femme Ghosts (Publication Studio). She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and is a Translator-in-Residence at Princeton University. Her translations include Octavia Butler’s Kindred into Arabic (Takween Publishing); Ashraf Fayadh’s Instructions Within (The Operating System), longlisted for the BTBA 2017 awards; and Ra’ad Abdulqadir’s selected poems, Except for This Unseen Thread.


Ra’ad Abdulqadir

تضحك المرأة،    تصكٌّ على وجهها
أهذا ممكن؟
كل شيء جائز
الأشعة أخذت تتسرب من الشقوق
المرأة زرقاء من البرد
تحمل مظروف التحاليل
ستضع المظروف تحت عتبة الباب
سيأتي الرجل بلحن الماء
وفي الوقت الذي سيعزفان فيه
مقطوعة الجائز والممكن
ستبتلُ باللحن أقدام الملاك

Ra’ad Abdulqadir (1953–2003) is a pioneer of the Iraqi prose poem, the author of five poetry collections, and a lifelong editor of Aqlam, Iraq’s leading literary magazine. Except for This Unseen Thread: Selected Poems (Ugly Duckling Presse), translated by Mona Kareem, is his first collection in English translation.


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