And I Begin to Confess!

Salih Habib

Translated from the Arabic by Christine Khoury Bishara


I will rush out on a Sunday morning

like a kiss blown out of a window…

I will head towards the church,

specifically, to the priest…

and I will begin to confess:

I am the one who broke the branch of the Kingdom

and ignited the dark,

I am the one who – in my own flesh – has gifted a flower

to the devil on Valentine’s day…

I am the one who brought the apple inside me, like a deer,

a deer best at frolicking…

with my own hands I killed my friend Salam’s cat,

out of fear for its loneliness…

But, I never stole the shoes and the watches of the murdered,

I never indulged in their golden teeth

at a war supervised by God.


Click HERE to read the Hebrew and Arabic versions of this work in Granta Hebrew

Salih Habib was born in the village of Deir Hanna in the Galilee and currently lives in the village of Eilabun. His father is a well-known poet. Salih began studying classical poetry as a youth, and earned a BA and an MA in Arabic Poetry at Bar-Ilan University. He teaches Arabic at a high school. He writes classical and contemporary poetry and has been published in several literary journals.

Christine Khoury Bishara is fluent in Arabic and English and has long needed to translate in-between both languages as a student, as a teacher, and in her public relations-oriented careers. She is finishing a Master’s Degree in Literary Translation at Bar-Ilan University.



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