by George Abraham


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Abraham’s highly anticipated debut Birthright constructs a dialogue in which “every pronoun is a Free Palestine.”

Through poems of immense emotion, and the use of alluring form, Abraham crafts work that examines what we come to own by existing.

Birthright begs readers to stay, to stay lucid, to stay alive, to stay present in this very moment; as it knows now is all we are guaranteed.

As trauma seeps through generations, can the body deconstruct its own inheritance? In a world that only takes, what is owed? What is your Birthright, and where is home?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943735679
Publisher: Button Poetry
Publication date: 04/07/2020
Series: Button Poetry
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 528,574
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

George Abraham is a Palestinian-American Poet, Author, Activist, and Engineering PhD candidate at Harvard University. He is the author of the poetry collection Birthright (Button Poetry 2020), as well as the chapbooks al youm: for yesterday & her inherited traumas, winner of the Atlas Review's 2017 chapbook contest, and the specimen's apology, forthcoming with Sibling Rivalry Press in 2019. He is the recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, Poetry Foundation Incubator, the Watering Hole, and Brooklyn Poets, and is the winner of the 2018 Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize, selected by Tommy Pico.

Read an Excerpt


once i had a body & that body was a [male/female] body. some days i contoured & dressed the [male/female] body & others i spat it out like a pit or seed uprooted from a digestible flesh. in either case it was a [consumable/indigestible] body. something to swallow & fill the void of every [rapist/lover]. how the body turned [solid/fluid] in the presence of bone-shattering shear & chaotic tensors. how it puddled in its own redaction & swelled, stubborn, much like the blood who cannot unknow the turbulence it was born into. sometimes the body feared its own [male/female] reflection, bestial like only a [terrorist/freedom-fighter] can know. the wrong historian refuses to call my body [occupier/ occupied] – says the truth is somewhere in between, is non-binary, but i can think of no [conflict/occupation] more clear than that of this body & isn’t that worth a decisive history? no, my gender is not a refugee caught between the ash of two genocides. i cannot be in exile from a body i was [never/always] home in. i only know how to love the body in [fragments/categories]. my gender is a runaway ghost train. my gender is the mirror speaking back in shattered tongues. i am all of the question marks in your medical books. a [doctor/ anthropologist] once tried to encode the body into a binary rivulet – a sequence of 0’s and 1’s to name this digitized fluidity. but even in its purest form, the body was still a mistranslation of itself

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Taking Back Jerusalem 1

I Dispossession

Inheritance: a Translation 7


Apology 21

Index, for the damned 22

Incomplete confessions of wind 24

Origin story, age 17, to be written on the walls of my childhood house in blood 25

Triptych with Varying Degrees of Certainty, Posed as an Interrupted Sestina 26

Heritage 29

Elegy for Home in mirrored graves, ending in a collapse of wings 31

P lo y 34

II Birthright

Video Loop: Ben Gurion Airport panic attack 37

In which you do not ask the state of israel to commit suicide 39

Broken Ghazal, Before Balfour 40

In which you do not ask the state of israel to commit suicide 42

Elegy for the Birthright 43

In which you do not ask the state of israel to commit suicide 44

Letter to be Reflected and Thrown into the Shores of Tel Aviv 46

Elegy in which the Birthright Speaks Back 49

In which you do not ask the state of israel to commit suicide 50

Haifa Love Letters from a Palestinian Exile 51

In which you cannot ask the state of israel to commit suicide 53

Cartographies of Light 55

III Adaptation

From Adaptation Portraits (strange cartographies) 63

Ekphrasis on Mirror Skylines 68

To All the Ghosts I've Loved Before 70

Ars poetica with waning memory 73

Essay on Submission 74

Alternate mythologies of vengeance, in fragments 76


Cartographies of Wind: An Exhibition 81

After Balfour 82

Annihilation Landscapes 84

Ekphrasis with Toothing Chainsaw in Unnamed Halhul Vineyard 86

Ekphrasis on a Fragmented Nationalism 88

The Ghosts of the Exhibit Reveal Themselves (Triptych) 94

The Ghosts of the Exhibit Are Screaming (Palinode) 96

The ghosts of the dead sea rewrite the history of drowning 97

Ars poetica in which every pronoun is a Free Palestine 98


Against Consolidation 101

Ars poetica with parallel dimensions 104

Before Apocalypse 106

Ode to Mennel Ibtissam singing Hallelujah on The Voice (France), translated in Arabic 107


Alternate Mythologies of Exile

I Mythos of Floodwaters, Ending in the Promise of Return 109

II Mythos of Birthright, Ending in a Return to Olympus 111

III Mythos of Paradise, Without Ending 113


Despite Forgiveness 117

Notes 121

Acknowledgments 123

Map of Home 125

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