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Gaza, a poem

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A Gaza parent. Photo from 2012 by Atta

A Gaza parent. Photo from 2012 by Atta Awisat


“Most difficult moment for a father: split his children in all corners of the house or all in one corner and die together?” —Mohammed Omer.

I’m walking and a man says, “If the Palestinians would just love their children more than they hate their enemy, the violence would be over.”
If only.
If only they would love their children.
If only they had chosen the four corners
(so they would die)
or kept them in the middle
(so they would die).
If only they would have brought four-day old Noura back to life.
If only they would kiss their children’s dead mouths and breathe life into them.
If only they would raise their arms to the sun to block the bombs with the palms of their hands.
If only they would dry the rivers of blood in the streets and pour them back into the hearts of their daughters and sons.
Why don’t they?
Why can’t they just pull out their own lungs and stick them into their slaughtered children’s chests?
Why can’t they just sing, 24 hours a day, louder than thunder, to prevent their ears from hearing the sound of bombs?
If only they would love their children, and carry their bodies up into the air, above the siege, past the blockade, into freedom.
If the Al-Batsh boys’ parents had really loved them,
they wouldn’t have let their insides be wrenched apart by the bomb that fell.
They would use their hands to hold their limbs together so that they could stay in one piece.
If only they would stop the vibrations which create sound,
the sound which crashes and bleeds through their children’s ears.
If only they would stop all light from traveling, so that their children wouldn’t have to see their sisters, cousins, fathers, brothers.
Dead on the floor.
Their house turning to rubble.
Their family turning to dust.
Their family turning to nothing.
Their world disappearing.
And why doesn’t their love sustain their children more than food?
Heal the wounds from the weapons?
They had seconds to leave before the bombing began.
They should have thrown their children out the window,
knowing they would take flight
with the wings their love had created.
If only they loved Mohammed, Ahed, Zakaria and Mohammed
to rise above their soccer game and change
the magnetic forces of the Earth,
to pull away the bomb,
headed for the beach.

Nisha Bolsey

Nisha Bolsey is a Palestine solidarity activist and socialist living in New York City. She is studying to be an educator.

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6 Responses

  1. just on July 20, 2014, 11:04 am

    poignant, visceral, heartbreaking.

    as is the life of Palestinians this day, and for so many thousands of days before today.

    • Henry Norr on July 20, 2014, 11:27 am

      Another poem – not exactly poetic, to my ear, but a powerful summary of what’s going on – by well-known British poet Heathcote Williams is at:

      Dore Stein, courageous host of the music show Tangents on San Francisco public radio station KALW, read it on the air last night!

      • just on July 20, 2014, 11:39 am

        Amazing, Henry. A very powerful summary indeed.

        That poem should be mandatory reading/listening for every single American……today.

        Thanks for sharing that. I can pass that one on.

      • Kris on July 20, 2014, 11:52 am

        Thank you for sharing this extremely powerful poem!

  2. annie on July 20, 2014, 1:49 pm

    yes, if only.

  3. oldgeezer on July 21, 2014, 1:58 am

    tragic. The fact this is a split second reality they face constantly. Not just during this period of heightened conflict.

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