Home > Issues > “The Arrival of Seagulls” by Raed Anis Al-Jishi, Translated by Amira Rammah

The following translation appears in PRISM 54:4, our Summer 2016 issue. To get a copy of the latest issue, or your very own subscription, visit us anytime at our online store.


I have seen gulls,
in holy visions,
hover and invent
the sound of horses.

I have seen them
give alms to rats
hungry for crumbs of bread,
crucified on the altar.

I have seen them
flap their wings and swallow
common rules of fish.
Reinvent the physics
of a silver talisman’s dance
on the sea’s curve.

I have seen rats
feast at the fall of dusk.
They claim to be the genesis of light.

Amira Rammah is currently an MFA candidate in the Literary Translation program at the University of Iowa. She received her BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Carthage in Tunis and was the recipient of a Fullbright scholarship in 2014. She translates primarily from Arabic with a special interest in post-Arab Spring literature.

Raed Anis Al-Jishi has published one novel, seven volumes of poems in Arabic, one in French, and one, Bleeding Gull: Look, Feel, Fly, in English.Alongside a career as a writer, he teaches high school chemistry. He is a feminist by action and human rights activist, and works on issues involving children.