As Death Toll Surpasses 500, a Poem for Gaza

Yesterday, June 20th, saw the indiscriminate shelling of the Gaza City neighborhood of Shuja’iyeh, killing at least 63, including 17 children. Jewish Voice for Peace is estimating that the total death toll in Gaza since Israel began its bombing campaign on July 8 has risen to over 500. Read Electronic Intifada’s coverage of yesterday’s atrocities (including some graphic images) here. Mondoweiss also has an article here

Medics at al-Shifa hospital mourn their colleague who was targeted and killed in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya neighbourhood earlier in the day on 20 July. (Anne Paq / ActiveStills)

Medics at al-Shifa hospital mourn their colleague who was targeted and killed in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya neighbourhood earlier in the day on 20 July. (Anne Paq / ActiveStills)

The following poem is by Nisha Bolsey, originally published on Mondoweiss:

Gaza, a Poem

“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.”

Yes.
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
enough
to rise above their soccer game and change
the magnetic forces of the Earth,
to pull away the bomb,
headed for the beach.

Advertisements

One thought on “As Death Toll Surpasses 500, a Poem for Gaza

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s