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Game of reason

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

سأدعي أنني عاقلة
وستدعي أنك مجنون
سألعب معك بعقلي
وستلعب معي بجنونك
       وأنت تجمع الحصوات وتعدّ مرات سقوطي 

I will pretend to have reason
And you will pretend to be mad
I will play with you at being reasonable
And you with me at madness
I will follow you
As you gather pebbles
And count my falls





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