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Flood game

لعبة السيل
by Nabilah al-Zubair
Translated from Arabic by
Yasmine Seale
Issue 31 Online Exclusive

(سأفترض أنني حبيبتك (مجرد فرض
(ستقول لي :  يا حبيبتي (مجرد كلمة
سنذهب معا للنزهة
في الوادي
سنغمض عينينا
وسيجرفنا السيل
آخر النهار.. وقد تعبنا
سنفتح  عينينا مستغربين
لم يحدث ذلك

I will say that I am your lover (just saying)
You will say to me: my love (just a word)
Together we’ll go rambling
In the valley, close our eyes
And the flood will take us
Exhausted at day’s end
We will open
Our astonished eyes. Why
Did none of this happen?





al-Zubair, Nabilah. “La’bat al-sayl” from Tanwin al-gha’ib. Sana’a: Dar al-Afaq, 2001.

Nabilah al-Zubair is a poet, short story writer, and novelist from Yemen. She began writing in the early 1980s, and her first poetry collections were published in the 1990s. Her first novel, My Body, published in 2000, won the Naguib Mahzouf prize for fiction. She is also a prolific journalist and campaigner for social change in Sana’a.
Yasmine Seale has written about books and art for a variety of publications and translates from Arabic and French. She is currently working on a new translation of the Thousand and One Nights for W. W. Norton. She lives in Istanbul.