Illustration by Anne Le Guern

Skilled carpenters
excellent mechanics
energized farmers
fierce fighters
they are all one
or one is all of them
with all costumes and
machines and languages
they carry no singular adjectives
their fingerprints are one
their pupils are one
they are truly one
in type and degree
of no difference
they share joy and tragedy
and they have no hearts
to feel divided

Ra’ad Abdulqadir

Ra’ad Abdulqadir (1953–2003) was a pioneer of the Iraqi prose poem, an author of five poetry collections, and a lifelong editor of Aqlam, Iraq’s leading literary magazine. Except for This Unseen Thread: Selected Poems (Ugly Duckling Presse), translated by Mona Kareem, is his first collection in English translation.

Mona Kareem

Mona Kareem is an author of three poetry collections and a translator of Ra’ad Abdulqadir, Ashraf Fayadh, and Octavia Butler, among others.