A Road for Loss

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat
Translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah

Like the rest of you,I thought of escape.But I have a fear of flying,a phobia of congested bridgesand traffic accidents,of learning a new language.My plan’s for a simple getaway,a small departure:pack my children in a suitcaseand to a new place we go.Directions confuse me:there’s no forest in this city,no desert either.Do you know a road for lossthat doesn’t endin a settlement?I thought of befriending animals,the adorable type, as substitutesfor my children’s electronic toys.And before anyone sacrifices another,I want a place for getting lost.My children will grow,their questions will multiply,and I don’t tell lies,but teachers distort my words.I don’t hold grudges,but neighbors are always nosy.I don’t reproach,but enemies kill.My children grow older,and no one’s thought yetto broadcast the last news hour,shut down religious channels,seal school roofs and walls,end torture.I don’t dare to speak.Whatever I speak of happens.I don’t want to speak.I’d rather be lost.

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Maya Abu Al-Hayyat is a Palestinian novelist and poet who lives in Jerusalem. She has published two poetry collections, numerous children’s stories, and three novels. She is the director of the Palestine Writing Workshop, an institution that seeks to encourage reading in Palestinian communities through creative writing projects and storytelling with children and teachers. She contributed to, and wrote a forward for A Bird is Not a Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Poetry. She is also an editor of The Book of Ramallah, coming soon by Comma Press.

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Fady Joudah has received various awards for his poetry and translations. His latest poetry collection, Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance, is from Milkweed Editions (2018). He lives in Houston, Texas.

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