“20” by Malak El Halabi

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by Malak El Halabi

19 May 2020 | 18:00

Source: by Annahar

  • by Malak El Halabi
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 19 May 2020 | 18:00

Photo of Lebanese writer Malak El Halabi while recording one of her award-winning poems at the Hay Festival

The space

between your presence

and my absence

the twenty clouds,

the twenty stairs

between heaven

and your face

The space

between my breath

and your smile

the red ships that are

sinking inside my veins,

the bone-weary soldier, ready



the bone-weary soldier,

on his last leg,

asleep on his


the bone-weary soldier tearing down

the white flag with his broken teeth

the bone-weary soldier jumping

from the deck of the last

sinking red ship

from the deck of the last

sinking red ship between

the straits of blood and


inside the last remaining


inside the last remaining

broken piece of what this

drowning heart has to


The space

between your presence and



the twenty days,

the twenty beds between your lips

and my thighs

The space

between your fullness

and my emptiness

the surface of a full moon

the distance separating a baby born

from his mother's


the distance separating a mother's bleeding womb


her heart


Malak El Halabi is a Lebanese published poet and a consumer behavior expert, currently pursuing her PhD in Consumer Behavior in France. She published her first poetry book “الهي الحب وعقيدتي أنتَ”, “My God is Love and my Religion is You” at the age of 17. The book ranked second in the sales of the Beirut Arab Book fair. In 2011, her second Arabic poetry book “Samir” was published, dealing with the themes of death and grief. After 2011, Malak switched to writing in English. Since then, her poems have been featured in Dubai Poetics, Thought Catalog, and several online platforms. Her poem “23” won the third prize in the IE Humanities Award 2016 for which the award ceremony took place during the Hay Festival of Segovia, Spain. Her poem “Insomnia” won the second prize as well in the 2018 Humanities Award. Her first English poetry book "Raw with Love" (Published by Turning Point Books) is currently present in all Lebanese bookshops.


Welcome to Carpe Diem, Annahar's new literary section featuring poetry- old and new, published or hidden within the nooks of unveiled pages of Lebanese writers. We welcome all contributions with the caveat that the section hopes to see rawness and authenticity in thought and emotion. Please send inquiries to Carpe Diem editor kantarjianperla@gmail.com

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