New Poem from Gaza: Basman Aldirawi’s ‘This Bread Was Born, This Bread Was Killed’

From Gaza, writer and poet Basman Aldirawi — one of the contributors to Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire — shares new work. You can get the ebook of Light in Gaza from publisher Haymarket Books for free.

This Bread Was Born, This Bread Was Killed

By Basman Aldirawi 

With clean hands,

he gently sifts the flour,

and adds a handful of yeast.

He pours the warm water

for the yeast particles to live,

then rolls and kneads and rolls

and kneads the dough.


He lets the soft mass rest.


With firm but gentle hands,

he rounds it into balls,

flattens them into shape,

and handles each one

delicately into the oven.


Soon, perhaps in half an hour,

the bread rolls are born fresh,

healthy and browned.


The newborn breads breathe,

yet dust chokes the air,

searing gases penetrate

their thin, fragile crusts.


On the day of their birth, a missile,

a bakery, a scattering

of zaatar, flesh, and blood.

Basman Aldirawi (also published as Basman Derawi) is a physiotherapist and a graduate of Al-Azhar University in Gaza in 2010. Inspired by an interest in music, movies, and people with special needs, he contributes dozens of stories to the online platform We Are Not Numbers.