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The Wretched of the Heavens

We will go to God


Our shroud is our blood,

our camphor:

the teeth of dogs

turned wolves.

The closed cell suddenly swung open

for the female soldier to come.

Our swollen eyes could not make her out,

perhaps because she comes from a mysterious world,

she did not say a thing;

she was dragging my brother's bloody body behind her,

like a worn-out mat.

We will walk to God


our feet lacerated,

our limbs wounded.

Are Americans Christians?

We have nothing in the cell to wipe the lying body,

only our blood

congealing in our blood

—and this smell coming from the continent of slaughterhouses

... Angels will not come here,

the air is perturbed,

these are the wings of hell's bats,

the air is motionless.

We have been waiting for you, O Lord.

Our cells were open yesterday.

We were lifeless on their floor,

and you did not come, O Lord.

But we are on the way to you.

We will remain on the way even if you let us down.

We are your dead sons and have declared our resurrection.

Tell your prophets to open the gates of cells and paradises!

Tell them that we are coming!

We have wiped our faces and hands with clean earth.

The angels know us one by one.

                        London, 5-10-2004

Saadi Youssef

Nostalgia, My Enemy
Graywolf Press

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