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Author’s Note

I wrote these poems from right to left and from left to right, in Arabic and in English. I didn’t translate them; I only wrote them twice. Writing these poems in two languages maybe makes a new ‘original’. This process somehow liberated me from having to follow the first text, particularly when the second text came first, given the cultural connotation. To capture the poem in two lives is to mirror my exile, with all of its possibilities and risks. But as home is flashed through exile, a poem is sometimes born on the tip of another tongue. It was annoying to me in the beginning when my poem pulled me right and left, but I always follow my poetry, just as people say to ‘follow your heart’. Well, to justify my choice, I would claim that allowing such a dialogue between the two texts is democratic, and even hopeful that East and West may meet in that crossing line between two languages. But this is not to say that I’ve achieved a linguistic utopia. To produce a text in two languages is to always hold a mirror to the first text while the mirror behaves as if that text is actually her mirror. The poet is at home in both texts, yet she remains a stranger. This English edition shows readers one side of the mirror.


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