By Gary Corseri
(Note: American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death on March 16, 2003, while trying to stop an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) armored bulldozer from demolishing Palestinian homes in the occupied Gaza Strip.)
Barely a woman, twenty three years old–
Soft, vulnerable…. Surely, the Monster
Will stop in its tracks!
She steels her will,
Thinks of the tank in Tiananmen Square–
One little man stopping a tank!
They will perceive her love-resolve:
To die in a great cause is to mortar–
Not martyr–the Cause!
She must not die!
Cannot break her parents’ hearts–
Back home! (She sees them now!)
If only they knew
How she had grown!
They would understand…
This other love that held her now
In place, this love of home and place,
And the Other,
Of the faces, the voices, the laughter…
Olive groves and sun-scented skin;
The love she’d found for dispossessed:
Children, fathers, mothers–also of her,
Belonging to her, because
Everyone suffering was One.
It was hard to explain… but the Monster
Truck was coming now–remorseless Caterpillar,
Sci-fi bulldozer to scoop her up!
It would stop in its tracks!
Because a man drove it!
A man who would see her,
In her orange jacket
Like a bumble bee!
He would see she had to
Do it—stand there in its way
(Though its iron mouth gaped,
Though its hard lips snarled.)
To save their houses, olive groves… to save
Herself! And these other selves–part of her
And part of the one who drove the Monster
Closer now, with droning, cacophonous,
And the sun burning its panes like eyes.
It must stop, if she steels her will, is resolute,
Peers in his eyes… surely… then… understand…
He will–the suffering… the children… why she stood
In its way–
Barely a woman, bones against
The iron tread, encircling,
Winding, crushing, crackling,
Bursting in sunburst light,
In the dying light,
For the sake of all.
– Gary Corseri has published his work at hundreds of websites and periodicals worldwide, including The Palestine Chronicle, Countercurrents, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Village Voice and The New York Times. He has published 2 novels and 2 collections of poetry, edited the Manifestations literary anthology, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has taught at US public schools and prisons and at US and Japanese universities. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. He contributed this poem to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.