I stand between the shame and relief
The missiles missed this time
Truth is , they didin't miss entirely
Someone's house is destroyed
but not the house I know so well
Someone's family is grieving
but not the one whose name I carry
I linger between my shame and relief
I tell myself
"This flesh, torn and scattered,
is not flesh I have ever embraced,"
I soothe myself,
"nor are these small lifeless hands
the ones with a crayon I've traced".
I ...breathe...this time
the missiles missed
those whose names are engraved on my lips.
This time they didn't stop those hearts beating in my chest.
But I must confess
Every time the bombs fall on Gaza
I search for answers
Where did they strike?
Which street did they blow up?
Which neighbourhood did they destroy?
Which lives did they steal?
Aware of my guilt I whisper a prayer
Dear God, please don't let it be the ones I love.
And when it's over
And when the less fortunate ones weep
I stand between shame and relief.
Thank God my loved ones....are spared
- Samah Sabawi
Poem published here by the Palestine Chronicle, a great resource. Thanks to Simon Dalby for pointing me to this poem and the book, "The Journey to Peace in Palestine" which Samah Sabawi co-authored, with Bill Baldwin. Samah was born in Gaza and lives as a refugee in Australia. Bill was in Palestine as an accompanier with Christian Peacemaker Teams.