Nomi Stone

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


Barzakh: the place of the soul before Judgment Day
Rabat, Morocco

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.


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