Old Land

By Jo Neace Krause

To be born in Gaza
is to feel your body
even in sleep picked at
by an ancient wind

To be spotted on your bed
like grey debris, the twisted leg of history
washed up on the beach in front of a crowd
with flashlights searching your ears
for the last dangerous words
you might have overheard.

While in your cool dreams, under the high galleons of morning
a sailor like yourself filled with risky love
of the deep, runs down on down some steps
folding on and on beneath your feet
like the fat meals laid down
in the stomachs of tourists,
carried laughing and chatting in taxi cabs,
that rise as topaz dolphins do, leading the way
through waves of opal joy.

Oh, to have your own spot on this earth!
To have it pure in character as a theme park
to have all truths fall about you
like the stopped hearts of sun sucked apricots,
dropping between the sugary lips of some wild
and haughty mouth.
Oh, to be only among your own kind,
though someone calls to you from the haunting shadows
of Jerusalem’s long and bloody throat:
Hey, smiley-face the whole world suffers for you.
But bait your rat traps with what you want,
We chew our own dark crust of hope.

– Jo Neace Krause lives in West Virginia. She has published in the Yale Review, University of Windsor Review, Exquisite Corpse, Other Voices, River City, University of South Carolina Review, George Washington University Review. (This poem was contributed to PalestineChronicle.com with permission from the author.)

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