Watch in Full – A Poem

South Africa's case against Israel was held in The Hague. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Kim Jensen

On January 11, 2024, South Africa opened its historic genocide case against Israel in the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

If my insides were visible through the pores of my eyes     if the curtains drawn wide     the panes

cleared      if I wasn’t crying so much      if I hadn’t lost sight       the witness in the mirror could see

I am not dancing I’m shaking     like a vessel rattled     by the burning matter     it was made to carry



Here    there are no corpses only stories      here nothing explodes

in the sky above hollow shopping malls    glazed with rain      in America

most white people over the age of sixty won’t take my flyer      they don’t want the information

I assure you the facts before the court today are even more stark       even high-school girls

with nose rings from Claire’s want to know        what’s happening with their taxes


More stark      more shocking more rapid more alarming     more brutal      than what

we’ve seen in history    if you can imagine    frighteningly unprecedented         in my dream I said

I never knew a graveyard could be that large    granite headstones for miles     entire cities

in ruins    upon waking I jot snippets of the proceedings   care not available   genocidal intent evident

large scale homicidal destruction    homes schools mosques churches universities hospitals    incontrovertible     decomposing bodies left where they were killed      slow excruciating deaths trapped under the rubble



Incontrovertible    we have the footage   we have the statements    the evidence the precedent

the motive the means the intent the record the plans the weapons the casings the burns the

unmedicated    amputations   we know     who made the first-degree decision   to cut off water

food fuel aid medicine    everything that makes human life possible    a few weeks in November

and a whole city is leveled     a sky should be punctuated only by clouds so you can see

how far it goes



This season has been an X populated by shadows   the number of children who will never

be born [II]     genetic codes that won’t travel on        trees that won’t sift the sun into smaller

and smaller particles           the catalogue of things that can’t be counted      weddings quarrels

couches roses limbs books rabbits     poets and their fragments      newborns whose hearts

stopped     the business as usual that could not be    stopped     two words we will never

be able to say again [never again]   the headcount of those who bear witness      the relative few

who will watch in full



Whoever stays until the end will tell the story [III]


[I] Watch in full: First day of ICJ hearings in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel in Gaza

[II] According to a joint statement by 70 UN Ambassadors in November more than “50 entire families have been wiped off the population registry in Gaza.”

[III] “These words were written by Dr. Mahmoud Abu Nujaila on a whiteboard normally used for planning surgeries. Working with Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres — MSF UK), he was killed by a strike on Al Awda Hospital in northern Gaza on November 21st. The same strike killed another MSF doctor, Dr. Ahmad Al Sahar, as well as Dr. Ziad Al-Tatari, a doctor working with Al Awda. Other medical staff were severely injured.”

– Kim Jensen is a Baltimore-based writer, poet, educator, and translator who has lived in California, France, and Palestine. In 2001, she won the Raymond Carver Award for short fiction. Kim is currently professor of English and Creative Writing at the Community College of Baltimore County. She contributed this poem to The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out