This week, The Baffler published a poem from Beirut-born Palestinian poet Maya Abu Al-Hayyat’s recently published poetry collection You Can Be the Last Leaf (tr. Fady Joudah), selected by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha.
Introducing the poem, Lena writes:
I selected this poem by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat, from her collection You Can Be The Last Leaf, before journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was assassinated. It is a coincidence that its opening line names Jenin, the city where Shireen stood in a helmet and Kevlar vest emblazoned with the word PRESS, to report on yet another Israeli military incursion into the often-punished refugee camp on the last morning of her life. But there aren’t really coincidences in the Palestinian conversation. Maya’s book, her American debut, was published last week. At the edge of that night, morning in Palestine, Shireen was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper. Shireen was an exceptional journalist, but she was also a fixture of daily Palestinian life. Maya’s poems are made of such dailiness, the extreme violence of a colonizing force punctuating days filled with humor and compassion and small failures and sweeping loves.
Read the poem and Lena’s whole introduction at The Baffler.