Arabic

More

Each mark a motion caught in ink, a dancer’s
Slow kick, a series of bowing waves, the path
Of spilt salt—sharp Js sloping up and Is
Like silhouettes of men or minarets
Seen miles ahead. Sometimes a number I
Could recognize: the year, a price for dates
Or Dexedrine; the street-side signs defiant
As captives; every book impenetrable.

Our hands did all the talking, gave commands
To cars in gestures: “Stop” (a palm outstretched),
And after, “Move along” (a rolling wave).
Thumbs up for soccer balls, down for Saddam.
In crowds I’d cross my arms and shake at all
The baffled curses hurled in my face like sand.

Alexander Nemser is completing an undergraduate degree in literature at Yale. He won first prize in The Atlantic’s 2004 Student Writing Contest in poetry.
Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Crazy Tech Idea Could Become Real?

"There could be great intelligence enhancements, like infinite memory."


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Do People Love Times Square?

A filmmaker asks New Yorkers and tourists about the allure of Broadway's iconic plaza

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In