Akram Alkatreb was born and raised in Salamiah, Syria; a city renowned for its poets. He attended the University of Damascus, graduating with a degree in law. Alkatreb has worked as an art critic and journalist since 1996 contributing to many major Arabic speaking newspapers in Lebanon, London and Syria. He has six collections of poetry in Arabic, and one of his collections was translated to Spanish and published by the poetry house foundation in San José – Costa Rica in 2014. He lives in USA since 2001.
The Only Hand
The only hand is not yet dry, it turns on the lamp, trembling, throws the shirt on the side of the bed, and wrings tears from satin.
The only hand falls upon the cheek Like a cart tumbling in to a ditch. Then, after half an hour, it forgives like a childhood friend breathing on your shoulder, or sleeping. It holds the rose in the midday heat. It shells the peanut, or stabs someone between ribs. The only hand is not dry. It’s the same hand, flattened under the bulldozer.
Translated from Arabic by Sally Urang
The Tree on which the birds of earth sought refuge, the tree under which I laughed to death, set traps, and put my school books to dry, the tree that was my home in the wild, I saw it from far away being loaded on a truck.
Translated from Arabic by Osama Isber Edited by Samantha Kostmayer Sulaiman