Rabia'a al-Ossaimi
Fmaily Photo
This one who’s standing in the middle of the photo
is my father
He wanted to create a family
to carry his name and hang its photo on the wall

My elder sister
is sitting on the far right
because she cannot carry his name very far

And because I cannot either
I am standing on the far left of the photo

My brothers are five,
packed tight round my father
All of them will carry his name
but not far enough,
although his name is not heavy
to beget a band of boys to carry it

And about the one who’s sitting beside my sister –
she’s my mother
Poor lady . . . she married my father
because he wanted to create a family
to carry his name and hang its photo on the wall

July 2003
Translated by Samuel Shimon