My grandma had a farm in Gaza where her children played outside. Only her two oldest sons remember living there. My grandma had a farm in Gaza where she took care of animals. She milked goats and rode donkeys. She baked bread in a fire pit and brewed maramiya over crackling flames. My grandma had a farm in Gaza where she thought she'd live peacefully with her children and her husband. My grandma had a farm in Gaza that she left behind during the Six-Day War. Her oldest son, just eight years old, read the paper she signed before they crossed the checkpoint. It said if they wanted to leave safely that day, they were never allowed to return. My grandma had a farm in Gaza but in Jordan she bought half-rotten fruit from the market. My grandma had a farm in Gaza and when she lost it, her sons, just little boys, sold newspapers and ice cream to make ends meet. My grandma had a farm in Gaza and when her oldest son aged to sixty and went to America, he bought a farm in Oregon to recreate the only happy years of his life. My grandma had a farm in Gaza but in the haze of dementia, our house in Northwest Washington looked just like it. My grandma had a farm in Gaza and now she lies in a grave overlooking the farmlands of Snohomish where people raise cows and horses. Where people brew instant coffee in cheap kettles and buy bread from superstores. My grandma had a farm in Gaza where children don't play outside anymore. They play in hospitals and shelters, and the dark circles around their precious little eyes say that the memories are haunting and they will remember. This piece is dedicated to Fatmeh Abujame, Kat's beloved teta, who couldn't read or write, but moved heaven and earth to make sure her children and grandchildren could.
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We are the land and the land is us. / Its holiness and grime cannot be dispelled from us.