Bibliotheca Alexandrina

January, 2011

Grandmother’s fingernails scrape
navy lint off wire mesh. She does not
look at me. Her hands are full of linens.

She says, “She is not even a pretty girl.
I don’t know why you would do this.
Suppose you are injured. Suppose they
use horses like in Tahrir Square?”

Grandmother does not understand.

I would stand in the cordon around
the library even if Hadiya did not stand
beside me. Let them bring horses.
Let them bring paving stones and
rifles. I can’t sit by and watch them
ransack us.

Grandmother smooths folded sheets,
resigns herself to it. “At least bring me
a book of poetry when you come back.”

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