Mosab Abu Toha


Mosab Abu Toha is a young Palestinian poet from Gaza. A graduate in English Literature, he enjoys writing stories and poems of his own. Mosab taught English at UNRWA schools in Gaza from 2017 until 2019. Mosab is the founder of the Edward Said Library, Gaza’s only English-language library. As many of Gaza’s libraries were destroyed, he began a campaign in 2014 to collect donations of English-language books in what would become Gaza’s first public library for English books. Noam Chomsky, who has donated several autographed books to the library, wrote on Mosab’s behalf describing the library as “a unique resource, and what is more a refuge and a rare flicker of light and hope for the young people of Gaza.” Source


My father gave me a difficult name.

Inside it sit two letters that don’t exist in English.


My father didn’t know I would

have English-speaking friends,

always asking how to pronounce my name,

or trying to avoid saying it.


But Dad, I like to hear others address me by name,

especially friends.


Even my name’s root means difficult.

A camel that is described as Mosab

is one that’s difficult to mount and ride.


But I’m not difficult in any way.

I will undress myself and show you

my shoulders, how dust has come to rest on them,

my chest, how tears have wet its thin skin,

my back, how sweat has made it pale,

my belly, how hair has covered my navel,

the spot where my mother fed me before birth.


The same spot, they say, the angel of death

will pierce to take away my soul.

And now, at night, my son’s head hurts

when he rests it on my belly.


And my clothes, I feel them loose,

while others see them tight on me.


When someone from the life insurance company calls

and pronounces my name in English,

I see the angel of death in the mirror,

with eyes that watch me

crumbling onto this foreign ground.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Intersectionality & Culture

Literary Devices:


an exclamatory passage in a speech or poem addressed to a person (typically one who is dead or absent) or thing (typically one that is personified)


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic