The Jungle

By Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, University of Oxford

As we write about the Self, the image of the refugee always floats nearby. It floats palpably and metonymically, as both its own entity and marker. At this moment in time, the refugee has become the conceit of bare survival, the naked survivor whose corpus is no longer a corpus, but its non-elliptical sacrifice. Thus, in writing alone, the refugee can stare at his body (properly) as it disintegrates only to record his own fading and the world’s.

The Jungle

I

When do shadows sin
by returning to a light that
has suddenly deadened.
Because He lies in stomachs
bearing a void.
Yet you can watch them
chewing sea water,
cooked on stones of wheat.
As if theirs
were a feminine smell
floating in silent alleys.
As if their providence
were a chorus
making coffins
from a remote echo,
hailing a rock that has become theirs.

II

Where will you take me
when the clouds have covered me
with a yellow heart?

III

Places are droppings of the sky.
Bones on the eyelids
and a whiteness like death.
lulling the pillars of air.

This poem, by Refugee Hosts writer in residence Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, was originally published by  Refugee History. Read the original article here.

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