Ibtisam Barakat is a Palestinian-American bilingual author, poet, artist, translator, and educator, born in 1963 in Beit Hanina-East Jerusalem.




Ibtisam Barakat

In the middle of bread —
all loaves, all shapes:
American white,
French baguette, or
Arabic flat —
single flour
or multi-grain
there is the word: read.
All that remains if you break
a loaf of bread is: read.
past and present
eternal like rain
falling from the sky
grain by grain. . .
Those who cannot read
are the hunger of this world.
And dinner will not be ready
until they can read.
Dinner will not be served
until all can read
and the young have books
early in life
to sleep on like pillows
after reading so late,
and the passing to have books
to take to the afterlife —
a gift to the reading angels
who long for human bread.