A Call to Prayer

By Suzanne Roberts

The thunder of Israeli war planes
shakes the rubble of a mosque.
The call to prayer echoes
Allâhu Akbar, God is great,
through the dusty smoke.
The faithful kneel toward Mecca.
Behind them, bodies draped
with the green flags of Islam
lay on makeshift stretchers.
Some still trapped under
collapsed concrete, some
still scattered on the streets
beyond safe reach. Starving dogs
dig through the rubble. No one
should have to die this way.
Fires burn supplies in a warehouse,
bullets fall like rain. A shopkeeper
has lost both legs but still feels
the ghosts of his feet. He is propped
up by dirty blankets, stares out
at nothing. His wife sits by his side
and weeps. A family flees their home,
carrying suitcases, the white flags
of peace. They hurry along a dusty road
to nowhere. A small boy watches
as his grandmother dies in the street.
He will never forget nor forgive.
Grief is the only room- a woman
who has lost all of her children
walks into the sea.

January 15, 2009

– Suzanne Roberts is the author of three collections of poems, Shameless (2007), Nothing to You (2008), and Plotting Temporality (forthcoming from Red Hen Press). In 2008, she was named "The Next Great Travel Writer" by National Geographic Traveler. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. For more information, please visit her website at www.suzanneroberts.org.

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