I have the book in hand,

it holds such power

a power that I can’t comprehend.

The letters are pretty,

they look like drawings,

letters that I can’t make out.

The woman behind me

is 10 times my size,

yet she is leaning against me

our backs pressed to each other,

mine is hunched over from all the weight.

I keep silent.

Mom is far,

I can hardly recognize her

women look the same

a white futta

covering their heads, mouths, and ears

and a long sleeve black dress.

They look like ninjas.

They were moving

to the sound of books

being read by men

from behind a curtain.

The woman behind me

decides to lean on me even more

I lose track of the book

mom sees the confusion;

I give her the book,

she flips through the pages

she flips so much

I didn’t realize I was so behind,

they are fast readers.

I see the futta outline,

my hands are blurry behind it

I can see the outline

of my long sleeved

black dress

that belongs here.

In the Khelwe

Miral Fakher Eldeen is a Druze Arab Israeli poet. She’s completing her MA in creative writing at Bar Ilan University where her thesis discusses her identity as a Druze in Israel. She holds her BA in English literature and mathematics from the University of Haifa.

I sing to him

in English

I sing to him

Trazan’s song

I sing to him

“Just take my hand, hold it tight”

I cannot sing to him

“I’ll slaughter the pigeon”

I cannot sing to him

my childhood songs

I cannot sing to him

in Arabic.


Sohel Abu Hamood died on the 10th of March 1994 at the age of 56. He was a father, a

husband and a friend in Wadi el Fash neighborhood in Daliyat el Carmel. 10 days later a new

baby was born across the street to the Maklada family, they named him Loay. 8 years later, a

rumor was spreading: Loay Maklada is the reincarnated soul of Sohel Abu Hamood. He talks

about his past family, his children as if he’s still alive. Abu Hamood family did not believe at

first, he was born 10 days after their father’s death – it is not possible. Yet Loay was able to

open their door, remembering where the key was – on the door frame, he remembered that he

had to push the handle down and push the door open in order to open it, he remembered what

their father used to call them and that the neighbors throw garbage on their property. He

remembered every detail. He used to take a tour everyday after school on his bike around his

past property. His past wife’s name is Monira, her maiden name is Fakher Eldeen. His now

wife is called Miral, her maiden name is Fakher Eldeen, and she is his neighbor in both lives.


Author's Note:

Druze is a small, Arabic-speaking community in Israel and in the Middle East. They believe in one God, in their prophet Shuaib and in reincarnation. They pray in the Khelwe, which is a big room that separates men and women by a curtain. Moreover, Druze men serve in the Israeli army.