Nomi Stone is a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Anthropology at Columbia University with a Masters in Middle East Studies from Oxford. She is currently researching and writing poems about combat simulations/training exercises in mock Middle Eastern villages erected by the US military across America, focusing on both the military imaginations of these spaces and the lifeworlds of the Iraqi role-players who work within them. Her first book of poetry, Stranger’s Notebook (Northwestern University Press, TriQuarterly Books) about the lamentation rituals of one of the last cohesive Jewish communities in North Africa, was published in 2008. A Chicago Public Radio interview on the book can be accessed at http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/jewishmuslim-life-tunisian-island-djerba
Barzakh: the place of the soul before Judgment Day
Fridays, we carry basil and a cup of water to the body, sad and bored without the soul, numbering everything ever changed under the hand: the ship sent to the ocean; the cedar carved; the child turned into a person, intermittently kind and cruel. That child dreams every night of a place once described to her: a house between a lake and river, where souls fidget like hungry birds. The birds, circling from the sky into your mind, try to remember who down here, just who particularly in here, they landed.