The German Riveter: Weiter Schreiben poems – WET CHALK by Rasha Habbal, translated by Amanda Oliver from the German by Larissa Bender

By morning
my fingers were stubbed like chalk stick
worn writing
all night
long love poems
across the walls of your house
Imbued with a deep silence too
and a heavy insult,
that happened
to be
I love you

There
in the courtyard
sits a little pool of rain
There
where no one saw us
we loved
each other
standing
and
barefoot

A withered flower
fallen from a bird’s beak
caught in my hair
as I was caught by your mouth

A small fish
fell from your mouth
First of many
I, the only one to drown

There
in the little pool of rain
I stood
soaked through
My breasts quivered cupped in your hand
silent raindrops
falling on the tin roof

By Rasha Habbal

Translated into English by Amanda Oliver from the German translation by Larissa Bender

Read The German Riveter in its entirety here.

Find the books from The German Riveter on the Goethe-Institut page.


Rasha Habbal was born in Hama, Syria, and currently lives in Trier, Germany. She is working with author Nora Bossong as part of the Weiter Schreiben project. In 2018, Rasha was the recipient of the inaugural Torschreiber am Pariser Platz grant award for writers living in exile.


Amanda Oliver is a freelance translator from German. She has worked in online and print journalism and has written and produced international broadcast news. Her translation work includes Channel 4 News and she is an author for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Category: November 2019 - The German RiveterThe RiveterTranslations

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