The Unnatural Apologie of Shadows

By Nathalie Handal b. 1969 Nathalie Handal
We say lightning has no wings
when it slides down our houses
We say loss is just a condition
we acquire to bury our pity further
We say the bleeding hands
on the table filled with red wine
imported products and passports
are just reminders of
who we have become
We have no titles no birthright
no groves or Shakespeare
to return to
We apologize for the fear
growing out of our ribs
Apologize for the numbers
still etched on our tongues

Nathalie Handal, “The Unnatural Apologies of Shadows” from Love and Strange Horses. Copyright © 2010 by Nathalie Handal. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: Love and Strange Horses (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Nathalie Handal b. 1969

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, The Body, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse


French-American poet, playwright, translator, and editor Nathalie Handal is originally of a Palestinian family from Bethlehem. She has lived in Europe, Latin America, the Arab world, and the United States. Handal earned an MFA in poetry from Bennington College and an MPhil in drama and English from the University of London. She is the author of the poetry collections The Neverfield (1999); The Lives of Rain (2005); and Love and . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.