By Fady Joudah b. 1971 Fady Joudah
The rice field birds are too clever for scarecrows,
They know what they love, milk in the grain.
When it happens, there will be no time to look for anyone.
Husband, children, nine brothers and sisters.
You will drop your sugarcane-stick-beating of plastic bucket,
Stop shouting at birds and run.
They will load you in trucks and herd you for a hundred miles.
Old men will teach you trade with soldiers at checkpoints.
You will give them your spoon, blanket and beans,
They’ll let you keep your life. And if you jump off the truck,
The army jeep trailing it will run you over.
Later, they will accuse you of giving up your land.
Later, you will stand in distribution lines and won’t receive enough to eat.
Your mother will weave you new underwear from flour sacks.
And they’ll give you plastic tents, cooking pots,
Vaccine cards, white pills, and wool blankets.
And you will keep your cool.
Standing with eyes shut tight like you’ve got soap in them.
Arms stretched wide like you’re catching rain.

Fady Joudah, “Scarecrow” from The Earth in the Attic. Copyright © 2008 by Fady Joudah. Reprinted by permission of Yale University Press.

Source: The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press, 2008)

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Poet Fady Joudah b. 1971

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Fady  Joudah


Fady Joudah is a Palestinian American physician, poet, and translator. The son of Palestinian refugees, poet Fady Joudah was born in Austin, Texas, and grew up in Libya and Saudi Arabia. He was educated at the University of Georgia, the Medical College of Georgia, and the University of Texas.

Joudah’s debut collection of poetry, The Earth in the Attic (2008), won the 2007 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition and was a . . .

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SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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