Phantom Limbs: Socio-Psychic Contours of the Maimed Body in ‘I used to Count my Friends on my Fingers’

Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, vol. 13, no. 1, March 2019. (see full article at

What limbs count as ones we “need” and ones we don’t? Who decides? An Arabic short story takes up this question in the context of combat amputation, when a man who lost his ring and pinkie fingers in battle comes to the capital for compensation. “I used to Count my Friends on my Fingers” by Iraqi author Ahmed Saadawi, centers the psychological trauma of losing a part of the body that the state considers to be trivial. Read more at