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By Remi Kanazi

she was scared

seven months pregnant

guns pointed at temples

tears dropping

stomach cusped

back bent

dirt pathways

leading to



rocking boats

waves crashing

people rushing

falling over each other

packing into small spaces

like memories


her home







sat on hills

sniping children

neighbors fled

on April 10

word came

of massacre


didn’t fight

didn’t leave

shells and bombs

bursting in air

like anthems


prayed for the dead

with priests and imams

prayed for the living

looking over shoulders

for the Irgun and Haganah


a warrior

raised life

planted trees

painted fruit

cared for the road

as if it was her garden


orphaned twice

after birth

from Palestine

whispered Yaffa

till final breath

never knew essence

until she found



48 ways to flee

and she found Beirut

bullet holes in buildings

reminder of home

but not home


years later

daughters sat

on hills in the South

dreaming of breaking

water never touched


thinking of their mother

that warrior

how battles still

raged here and abroad


orchards flourished

propagandists called

them barren

land expropriated

for Europeans

thirsting for





not from here

plant flags, call it home

rename cities and villages

uprooting graveyards


memory that this

is not theirs


passed away

August 22, 2009

frail hands shook

lip trembled

didn’t want to die

but suffered decades


she spoke in Arabic

broken English

wounded words

and murmurs

her eyes closed

but every so often

they blinked brilliance

memories that could not

be erased, uprooted

or cleansed


she had not forgotten

we have not forgotten

we will not forget

veins like roots

of olive trees


we will return

that is not a threat

not a wish

a hope

or a dream

but a promise

From the collection Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up From Brooklyn to Palestine.

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