“Syria is a small, poor, and crowded country.”

in the morning, my mother smokes a cigarette on the balcony, a coffee and a large glass of water sit idly. as the clock approaches 9, she takes a sip from the water, pouring the rest in the yasmineh nearby.

“Syria’s oil is of poor quality, sour, and expensive to refine.”

in the afternoon, my father pours, a bucket of water into the balcony corner. he collects it towards the drain in the opposite corner. the rest evaporates, we sit in the sun, drink mate and eat peanuts.

“If the population were much smaller, Syria could have managed adequately but not, of course, richly.”

in the warm evening air, i sit on the balcony pretending to read from my textbook, the chapter on Fatimids while love stories slip from the radio. broken hearts, lost loves, callers interrupted by Fairuz singing Ams Entahena

“The Syrian Civil War is the bloodiest conflict in the world today, shattering the lives of Syrians, destroying cities and straining global politics”

on scolding summer days my mother empties, a bucket of water on the balcony. my sister and I change into tiny swimsuits, and we slide from one side to another. my mother reminds us to put our hands in front, so as not to hurt our precious little heads 

the quotations above were taken from actual news articles, published in both CNN and The Atlantic. the title of this poem is in reference to a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.