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Dima’s eyes

Israel/Palestine
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Eyes like an unfinished poem possess my spirit
They rise the moon out of its slothiness
Shaking away the stillness of my pillow
I shudder and solicit a memory:
Sweet mint tea in my aunt’s patio on Salaheddein Street in Al Quds
Long oblong sesame Ka’ek warm as the freshly boiled salt of the earth Nabulsi cheese melts in my mouth
Be still eyes old as Canaan
But
Can’t you see I have not slept in a thousand years?
Oh, the molasses night clings onto me like a hungry stray cat
Go play hide and seek in the crevasses of hills with your friends
I close my eyes again to pull back the black shroud molesting the glassy blue sky
And beckon the morning to fill my head with chatter
Be still eyes old as Canaan
But
Can’t you see the battalion riding my slight shoulders?
The storekeepers open their shops before athan in the old city
Put on your school uniform and tie a pretty white ribbon in your hair
Be still eyes old as Canaan
But
My childhood is wilting before you like Gazan carnations
The neighbors swarm around my bed as they did the summer I turned nine and caught the mumps
An irate rooster rouses a farmer from his slumber
Sing like the swallow of the Galilee
Be still eyes old as Canaan
But
I have sacrificed my beautiful long hair for a loaf of bread
So that the blessings of Ya’qoub’s well can heal the wounds of my people
Mwazi figs slide between my fingers at the retreat of August
A sage dawn descends upon the room
Be still eyes old as Canaan
Halawani grapes still hang in your vine waiting to be plucked

This poem originally appeared in The Palestine Chronicle

About Aida Qasim

Aida Qasim is a Palestinian American social worker.

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2 Responses

  1. gamal
    gamal
    May 3, 2016, 5:50 pm

    so wonderful it

    reminded me of that other Qasim

    ““A Palestinian village whose feudal owner sold it for a kiss through a pane of glass…”

    “in which the virgins’ infants were cooked in their mothers’ milk so soldiers and ministers might eat, along with civilisation!”

    https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/302633.Samih_al_Qasim

  2. Marnie
    Marnie
    May 4, 2016, 2:05 am

    “be still eyes old as Canaan”

    Her eyes have seen too much for her tender years.

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