I Don’t Believe in Greats
I’m aware some people suffer enough torment to become a lighthouse
then live on to old age
incapable of seeing what lights their way.
I don’t believe in survival.
I live in other people’s stories
like a rock suspended in space,
it doesn’t drop and can’t.
And blame, I don’t believe in it.
When incidents baffle me
and enemies blur into friends
I keep on filing my nails.
I’ve never blamed my nails
for nails that tear the flesh on my back.
Each time an opportunity arises for me to not believe in one thing
or another I smile from ear to ear
to let all this freedom in.
From You Can Be the Last Leaf by Maya Abu-Alhayyat, translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2022). Translation copyright © 2022 Fady Joudah. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions.