99 Veils by Amal al-Jubouri – Translated from Arabic by Suhail Najm


The Veil of Cain


You were the trustee on the earth

Whereas your brother was one of a cattle,

Is it for that God sensed his fault against Abel

And threw your sacrifices to your anger?

Then your face fell

And led you to your brother’s blood?

His blood that became later,

The dimension of the crime,

Is itself that thrown you to your sin.

But he surrounded you with his spells

And made you deflower the vulva of the dust

To see your brother’s view.

What craziness caught the God

To make your relief come from your sin,

And let you leave roaming,

Foreseeing what is beyond the numbers

Crying : (your curse will never get me).

Seven cries

They are the gate of meaning,

The gate of days

And the gate of the moon states.

So leave half of your crown in the labyrinth,

Your prophecies,

And your secret

Before your gods play

Their last string,

Your sacrifices song

And your bed that is filled with your brother’s desire.





The Veil of Eve


Eve has two tongues and four lips,

Two lips live in the light

And two in the darkness.

In the light they are elongated like the equator,

In the darkness they reacted like a Bamboo column.

Her first tongue speaks many languages,

And her second tongue can speak just one.



Veil of Knives


Edges of rivers like razor-­edged knife blades:

Tread on our land and your sole meets a knife.

Stares just like knife blades flash sharply from faces;

Nations, like knife blades, are pressed edge to edge.

A beautiful nightgown can wound like a knifepoint;

A razorblade necklace’s gems can bite deep.


In truth’s laboratory, all weapons lie naked:

A profiteer’s smile like a blunt knife, gold plated,

A knife blade of steel jammed between two cold wars.

A knife blade of copper with fake golden sparkle,

And knives of dull wood that are destined to blaze.

Knife blades of paper desire to wing skyward,

While toy knives of plastic defend the Third World.

Desire, sex, revulsion are knives of the body,

But no hand may touch the knife blade of words:

With no grips nor guards, a razor of breath,

Which, alone and lonely, can slice through the rest.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *