I used to believe there was so much evil in the world,
and though I’m the gentlest of all my friends, I never saw a rose in a vase
without pinching the petals between my thumb and index finger
to make sure it wasn’t plastic.

But lately I’ve begun to doubt the existence of evil altogether
as if all the hurt in the world happened
at the moment we make sure
that the creatures we’ve made to bleed are real.


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Published: September 8, 2020

Robyn Creswell teaches comparative literature at Yale University and is author of City of Beginnings: Poetic Modernism in Beirut (Princeton, 2019). He is the translator of Abdelfattah Kilito’s The Tongue of Adam (New Directions, 2016) and Sonallah Ibrahim’s That Smell and Notes from Prison (New Directions, 2013).