Skip to main content
Despair breeds hope
1 min read

Hell and Quorum of the Dead  by Ameer Hamad

From the poetry collection I Looked for their Keys in the Locks by Ameer Hamad, first prize winner in the 2019 Young Writer Competition. Hamad was born in Jerusalem in 1992, and currently resides there. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Birzeit University in 2016. He has published multiple of his works and literary translations in a number of cultural platforms.

Credits Poems by Ameer Hamad Translation by Wael Sawah May 23 2023


We were kicked out of the water,
we were kicked out of hell,
we, who were born in hell,
the tree planters,
are not entitled to reaching,
its hot stones,
we work silently below,
cooling the rocks with our bodies,
and throwing the polished statues,
for our passing brothers to pick them up.




Quorum of the Dead

I hid in the closet,
I found my grandmother by the sea,
counting beach holes,
she told me the dead are essential,
for the system of the universe.
We owe to the dead,
a less sandy reality,
and that everything will shine,
like drafts erased by scum,
when the quorum is complete.

Like what you read?

Take action for freedom of expression and donate to PEN/Opp. Our work depends upon funding and donors. Every contribution, big or small, is valuable for us.

Donate on Patreon
More ways to get involved