Fady Joudah


Return Is Only to the Stranger


Eight minutes ago the sun became a dinosaur
from an eon humans miraculously

outlast to speak about for eons more.
That the final flare the solar disk had lobbed

into my macula was a face mismatched to a voice,
or a tree folding in delta

because no one was around to testify
if a woman, a child, a burro, a camel,

a piece of bread whose grain is sand
no dog would eat. Or a starch-free barbeque:

knock, knock, who’s there? Atoms. Atoms who
in their flea jig immemorial on any kind of turf

would do: ice, stone, silica, the insular blow.
Waves always propagate, always

return me to you and you to me,
or me to me and you to you.


Fady Joudah has published four collections of poems, The Earth in the AtticAlightTextu, and, most recently, Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance. He has translated several collections of poetry from the Arabic. He was a winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2007 and has received a PEN award, a Banipal/Times Literary Supplement prize from the UK, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in Houston, with his wife and kids, where he practices internal medicine.

Continue to Jess Rizkallah’s ‘can you be arab without following every trail of smoke’ >>

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