The journal Newfound recently published a Hisham Bustani short story that centers on Palestine, in English translation by Maia Tabet. “Crossing” was originally published in Arabic in Bustani’s 2010 collection The Monotonous Chaos of Existence:
You cross the bridge suspended over the canal. Colored ships slowly glide across the surface of blue waters below. Now and then, from beyond the hills of fine sand, a date palm emerges, a village, some people. Fish dart across the lake and a swarthy, dusty child poses for the camera, stick in hand.
Eight people on their way to Gaza: the road is long and strewn with checkpoints.1
“Salamu alaikum,” and we go through the second checkpoint; at the third, nobody’s there. And at the fourth, a policeman waves us on. Just like that.
The sun is warm and everything is coming together, it seems. Yesterday, rumor had it that the crossing would be open between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It was only a rumor, but oh, the hope that tickled their minds: They would get through.
Another Friday Finds: Ines Abassi, ‘A Whoop of Kohl’
The Brooklyn Rail recently published four poems by Tunisian author Ines Abassi, translated by Tunisian poet-translator Ali Znaidi:
Abassi is author of several poetry collections, including Secrets of the Wind (2004) and Archive of the Blind (2007), as well as a memoir, Tales of the Korean Scheherezade, set around her time in Seoul.
Znaidi is a poet, winner of the Split This Rock/Mutanabbi Street Starts Here poetry translation award, and the author-editor behind Tunisian Literature (in English).
From “A Whoop of Kohl”:
The weave of the night’s cloak.
The blueness of a dawn redolent of the sea’s breaths
and the scent of the departure’s white lilies.
A heart full to the brim… A soul full to the brim.
A city full to the brim with daggers
made up of the silver of days…
The memories encroach upon time
in every fall from
the edge of waiting.
Read all four poems.