Syllogism for Palestinian Grief
by Summer Awad
Jesus is Palestinian.
Jesus is God (or so they tell me),
Therefore God is Palestinian.
God is Palestinian,
And so the Mother of God lives in Gaza,
And there are so many of her,
And there are so many of her son, splayed
Like a cross on the floor of Al-Shifa Hospital.
And she picks up his flesh, limp and lifeless,
The color missing from his lips, the lips
That learned to give Mama boosa
Before he was weaned from her milk.
And the Mother of God is sobbing through a zaghroota,
She is wailing Yamma, Yamma, Habibi, in that curious way
That Arab parents address us by their own names.
Ibni shaheed, she cries, Yamma, Yamma, ibni shaheed!
Would all these Maryams have denied what God placed
In her womb, declined a boy destined to die,
Kan maktoob min al-bidaya, it was always maktoob
To lose him. Would she have gifted him back to God
Before it all began, refused to use her body
To usher him earthside?
The Mother of God pulls the white
Of the shroud back from her son’s face
To stroke his hair for the last time, takes a deep
Breath before committing him back to Allah.
God is Palestinian, and we have all killed him,
Snuffed him out, missile by missile.
But the Mother of God knows,
By a primal, maternal intuition,
Inno maktoob for him to rise again.
by Summer Awad
I have fallen in love with the men who capture our disaster, who twist A tourniquet onto the bleeding of our people, who write the names On the body bags in hauntingly beautiful penmanship. I want to make love to the lenses of their cameras, want To massage the feet that trek daily over the rubble, want to Ready my lover’s tea on the flame, to run a bath To soothe his weary limbs. I want my fatherland To lay his overgrown beard in the crook of my neck, want him To squeeze me when he cries out from the nightmares, from the film reel Of bombs, the frames etched in our collective subconscious because he has decided We must not look away. I want to whisper to him that his existence Is revolutionary, that his sumud is breathtaking, that I see his gentleness And know he is not a combatant, that his heart was destined For more than martyrdom. I see him, sitting atop the rubble, As a young girl puts makeup on his face, a rainbow palette Of eyeshadows she pulled from the ruins of her home. I see how he holds A maimed toddler in his left arm while driving an ambulance with his right, How he sits on the sidewalk, head against the remaining wall of a store, Gazing blankly toward the fiery sky. I see him singing in scrubs, a smile On his face because he has gladly resigned himself to die for the sins Of our oppressors so that our people may have everlasting life. I want to kiss him on the forehead, tuck him Into one of the heavy fleece throws they wrap martyred children in, want him To sleep deeply, to wake up in the quiet after, to a world in which He is allowed to fall apart.