Marwa Helal

poem to be read from right to left

language first my learned i
see see
for mistaken am i native
go i everywhere
*moon and sun to
ل letter the like
lamb like sound
fox like think but

recurring this of me reminds
chased being dream
circle a in
duck duck like
no were there but
children other
of tired got i
number the counting
words english of
to takes it
in 1 capture


*شمسية و قمرية

“poem to be read from right to left” is written in a form created by the poet called The Arabic.

The Arabic is a form that includes an Arabic letter with an Arabic footnote, and an Arabic numeral, preferably written right to left as the Arabic language is, and vehemently rejects you if you try to read it left to right. To vehemently reject, in this case, means to transfer the feeling of every time the poet has heard an English as Only Language speaker patronizingly utter in some variation the following phrase: "Oh, [so-and-so] is English as a Second Language…” As if it was a kind of weakness, nah.

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Related from Ploughshares: “No Were There But” : Marwa Helal’s “Poem to Be Read From Right to Left” by John Rufo

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