Azmi Abdel Wahab – The killers

Wahab LE P&W January 2024

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Live Encounters Gaza Poetry & Writing, January 2024

The killers, poem by Azmi Abdel Wahab.

The killers

Oh, my God
They look just like us!
Their hands move in the air as they walk
Their feet commit the same sins
Their eyes see what we see
There must be blood running through their veins
I am sure

They look just like us
They have wives whose clothes smell of cooking
And young children hiding juice boxes in their bags
Before going to school
And they say good morning to the neighbors
While crossing the street quickly
On the way to work
They must be happy and angry
For trivial reasons
exactly like us

One of them for sure
Flirts his co-worker
And he feels remorse
When he caresses his wife at night
I saw them a lot on screen
The words were coming out of their lips
Very normal
And if one of them is unable to express
He turns away with both hands
Sometimes violently
And more quietly

They look just like us
They suffer from insomnia in the morning
And they fear the unknown
Whenever nightmares visit them
They do not sleep until morning
They wait for messages to arrive from far away people
To relieve them of the harshness of summer
In the lowlands
And wipe the noon stickiness from their foreheads

They look just like us
But they are hiding in shelters
When the sirens call them
While their relatives stuff planes with bombs
Bombs that do not mourn the crying of a child
Or an old man
Who mourns in silence
Their children write on rockets
Evening greetings to our children
Our children who the relief soldiers are looking now
For their remains under the beds
And the broken walls
Someone must be preparing dinner
With the same appetite
With which he burned houses
In a city where he did not sit in its cafes
I am sure
That fear eats his soul
When he tells his wife
About his anxious insomnia for two weeks of bombing
while watching on screen

Ghosts of his enemies
Pictures of a tired city
So she slept under the dark
For children talking about wars
Hiding behind their windows like spiders
So do not believe
The dust covering the faces of those soldiers
And the blood that flows from their fingers
And if you see on the screen their feet
Just believe
That they look like us
In defeat that eats the soul
You must know
That the hand that kills life there
Is the hand that raises the slogan here
That a small hand reached out from under the rubble
We give her a salty tear
To become our enemies?
Who look exactly like us!

© Azmi Abdel Wahab

Azmi Abdel Wahab is an Egyptian poet and journalist. He published eight collections of poetry, and his poems were issued in most Egyptian and Arab periodicals and newspapers. Moreover, his poetry is translated into more than one language, including English, French, and Persian. He, also, participated in many poetry conferences in the Arab world and won several awards from Egyptian cultural institutions.

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