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Game of difference

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

(سألعب معك أمومتي (لأنني لم أكن یوما أماً تامةً
(وستلعب معي رجولتك (لأنك
ثم سنقلب الأدوار
سيتضح لي أنك أم خالصة
وسيتضح لك أنني رجل من الدرجة الأولى

I will play with you at being a mother (because I have never been a true one)
And you will play with me at being a man (because)
Then we will swap roles
It will be clear
To me you are a perfect mother
And clear to you I am a first-rate man





al-Zubair, Nabilah. “La’bat al-mukhtalif” 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.