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Jonas Elbousty holds an MPhil and PhD from Columbia University. He is a writer, literary translator, and an academic. He teaches in the department of Near Eastern Studies at Yale where he was the director of Undergraduate Studies for seven years. He is currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Council on Middle East Studies at the Yale MacMillan Center. He is the (co)-author of six books, and his work has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, ArabLit, ArabLit Quarterly, Asheville Poetry Review, Banipal, Prospectus, Sekka, Journal of North African Studies, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Comparative Literature, Journal of New Jersey Poets, among other publications. His book Screams of War is forthcoming with Seagull Books.

Corpses in the Rain

Gentle droplets descend

to greet abandoned corpses

laying around.

Each corpse narrates its story to its neighbor

Harrowing stories pile up.

Water runs along narrow spaces

fierce and demanding to hear stories

from each corpse

to sense their agony and despair

Rough edges moistened by gentle rain

Rotten smell dissipates.

Each droplet absorbs a grievous story.

Each droplet heals buried wounds

Touching is healing


Leaves fly in autumn, disrobing trees. Branches are cold, ogling their covers on the sidewalks. Sounds of rakes, screeching of tarps, noises of leaf blowers. Passersby tread on leaves, so cautious of the wrath of trees.


Despondency, loss And anguish Wrap around my bones. Sleepless Restless Anxious And on edges. I implore you! What could cure this malady?


There are no words for what we experienced. Seeds of conflict Divisiveness Dissent Disharmony…

I see seeds of division Rampant in my beautiful nation. Shooting and looting are the parlance of the day, Crimes are ubiquitous. Why do they tell us that the worst is behind us? When all I can hear is mom’s shouting from a distance as I walk away “Be safe, my son…”

Orderly Love

You come in Chaos flees Order dominates Animals rush to welcome you! Squirrels shake their tails Birds compose songs Pigeons coo Everyone hovers.

You come in Order seeps in Love abounds We all witness your magical touch. They say there is order in chaos, But when order seeps in Chaos disappears.

Sinful Love

She walks in singing Her melodies floats in the air. If my love for her is a sin Then I won’t be asking for redemption.

You captivate my dark side And you steal my senses As I walk into the night Thy image lurks in. My eyelids cast a stare I descry A rose Rubicund With a soothing voice


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