We Are Looking for Palestine

The sun rises and moves around.
It sets to visit other places.
And we, we are looking for Palestine.

The birds wake up and look for food.
They chirp on the blossoming trees, laden with fruit,
with peaches, apples, apricots, and oranges.
And we, we are looking for Palestine.

The sea waves lap against the shore.
It glitters and dances with the fishers’ boats.
And we, we are looking for Palestine.

People travel to relatives and friends.
They book round-trip tickets, stuff their suitcases
with gifts and books and clothes.
And we, we are still looking for Palestine.

Sir, we don’t have airports and seaports;
no trains, no highways.
We don’t have passable roads, sir!
We do have crutches and wheelchairs.
Young men with one or no legs,
no longer able to work, as if there was work.

We travel to the West Bank or Egypt for surgery
or to set a broken leg.
They are close to us, but we need a permit to enter.
We stuff our suitcases with pictures and memories.
They feel very heavy on the ground;
we can’t carry them, neither can the roads.
They scar the surface of the earth.

We get lost in the past, present, and future.

When a child is born, we feel sad for him or her.
A child is born to suffer here, sir!

A mother feels the great pain in labor.
A child cries after leaving the dark, but secure place.

In Palestine, it is always dark.
In Palestine, children always cry.

If we want to travel, we leave many times.
In Gaza, a place I know well, you leave via Erez or Rafah,
a very hard thing to do.
(I want to see Tom Cruise and his Mission Impossible team do this.)
Then we search for a place to have the visa interview.
Cairo? Istanbul? Amman?
(But not in Palestine!)
We travel in anxiety.

We don’t have embassies, sir!
The one in Jerusalem is very hard to reach.
It is only 97 km away from Gaza
but is as far as the Andromeda Galaxy.
Andromeda is 2.5 million light years.
But all we have are dark years.
It should take trillions of years.

Sir, we are not welcome anywhere.
Only cemeteries don’t mind our bodies.

We are no longer looking for Palestine.
We are dying.
Soon, Palestine will search for us,
for our whispers, for our footsteps,
for our fading pictures fallen off aging walls
of silence.

 

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