Faleeha Hassan

On the bus

On the back seat
she sat close to him.
He was trying to reduce the distance between them
but her bag was there.
Made from leather,
filled with papers from a lot of accumulated talk,
filled with her magazines, many different pens,
colored pencils, eyeliner, lipsticks, and markers,
some addresses of her friends …….
A heavy obstacle near him.
The pores of his body yearned for a simple meeting,
but that bag
weighed down the place with worry.


When the first war ended
Men proceeded to search
And during the exhumation
From under moldy stacks
They found him
They said…….
We will return the spirit to his skeleton
But the whistle screamed
To announce the next war
The pages of History were shaking
And because speed was required
They sewed his face on the reverse
From that moment
My Father walked in a backwards direction

Faleeha Hassan is an Iraqi author born in Najaf, Iraq, in 1967, who currently lives in the United States. She earned an MA in Arabic literature and has published several collections of poetry in Arabic: Being a Girl, A Visit to the Museum of Shade, Five Titles for My Friend—The Sea, Though Later On, Poems to Mother, Gardenia Perfume, and a collection of children’s poetry, The Guardian of Dreams. Her works of Arabic prose include Hazinia or Shortage of Joy Cells and Water Freckles (a novella). Her poems have been translated into English, Italian, German, French, and Kurdish, and she has received awards from the Arab Linguists and Translators Association (WATA) and the Najafi Creative Festival for 2012, as well as the Naziq al-Malaika Prize, the al-Mu’tamar Prize for poetry, and the Shaheed al-Mihrab Foundation’s short story prize. She serves on the boards of Baniqya, a quarterly in Najaf; Sada al Nahrain (Echo of Mesopotamia); and the Iraqi Writers in Najaf association. She is a member of the Iraq Literary Women’s Association, The Sinonu (i.e., Swift) Association in Denmark, the Society of Poets Beyond Limits, and Poets of the World Community.
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