On Darwish’s Death

Most people say they have no words for Mahmoud Darwish’s death, and I, too, am finding myself speechless and heartbroken. On Saturday afternoon, I was reading out loud from his poem, “The Subsistence of Birds,” at a wedding in the middle of a field. I read these words in Arabic: “You were given to me as mother, father, friend/and brother for the road, and no bird bears more that it can.” Those, his words, seem to me the perfect words now. Darwish’s poetry has been in my life since I was a child, and I mourn him as I would a parent.

Allah yerhamu. May he rest in peace.

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