Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Five minutes

Israa Suliman | 12-07-2016


Five minutes and then my house will collapse.
Just five minutes separate it from the ground.
My room, my bed, my pillow, my desk, my book.
All will be smothered.
All will be smashed under the rubble.
Five minutes to kiss my last goodbye.
Maybe it is enough to take my passport, ID and some money.
But surely, it is not enough to store the details of every corner of my house,
Or to save those memories hanging on the walls.
All these years of hard work to make this house stand up
Will be shattered. In five minutes.
Powerless, I cried.
My heart squeezed in silence.
Oh, my cherished house.
My old shelter.
How can I say goodbye?
Two minutes, I count.
Then one minute.
I wait with fear in my heart.
In the distance, a helicopter is flying.
It's getting close, then closer still.
I anticipate.
A loud bomb.
Then another one.
Very dark. Terrified.
In a wink, the walls crumble.
And my house no longer exists.
There is nothing here but a space.
That rubble doesn’t look like my house.
That smell is not the same.
It is the smell of death.
A smell of charred memories
In a wink, my usual life is no longer.

I wrote this one day during the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza. My family was living in my brother's home, since it was located in an area that was a bit safer. It was noon, and as I scrolled through Facebook, I saw pictures of destroyed houses. I tried to imagine how those people felt when they lost their homes…and this poem is what resulted.



Posted: July 11, 2016

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