Poetry of Provocation and Witness from Split This Rock: Poem # 11

A Photograph
(Of An Iraqi Boy on the Front Page of the New York Times)

he sat
at the edge of the truck
(eight or nine years old?)
surrounded by his family:
his father,
mother,
and five siblings
were asleep
his head was buried
in his hands
all the clouds of the world
were waiting
on the threshold of his eyes
the tall man wiped off the sweat
and started digging
the seventh grave
New York, September 2006

– Sinan Antoon

Used with permission.

Sinan Antoon was born in Iraq and moved to the US after the 1991 Gulf War. His poems, essays and translations have been widely published in Arabic and English (The Nation, Ploughshares, Bomb, World Literature Today, Banipal). His novel I`jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights) has been translated to five languages. The Baghdad Blues (poems) was published by Harbor Mountain
Press. His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s In the Presence of Absence is forthcoming from Archipelago Books in 2010. Antoon returned to Iraq in 2003 to co-direct the documentary film “About Baghdad,” about the lives of Iraqis in a post-Saddam occupied Iraq. He served as senior editor of the Arab Studies Journal and currently serves as contributing editor for Banipal:Magazine of Modern Arab Literature and as a member of the editorial
committee of the Middle East Report. He is assistant professor at New York
University.

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