In arrival, feet flutter like dying birds

As part of the Tunisian Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh‘s poem ‘In arrival, feet flutter like dying birds’ has been published on The Absence of Paths exhibition platform. Yousif is Refugee Hosts’ Writer in Residence, and you can read (and listen to) more of his poetry here and here, and read his translations of poets from across the Middle East as part of our blog series on Translation, Poetry and Displacement here

In arrival, feet flutter like dying birds

by Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, by University of Oxford

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We think, sometimes, that they came from countless directions, from dim-coloured borders, from the raging fire that devoured them in the beginning, from absence… Here they come again, so invite them over to our death.

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The refugee is the revenant of the face.

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O refugee, feast upon the other to eat yourself.

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In arrival, feet flutter like dying birds.

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In the camp, time died so it could return home.

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