You were a little mean to us,
And sometimes we railed at you.
You made us shed tears and scream in pain!
But…in you I see a cozy home.
The comfortable lap of a mother,
a font of tenderness.
Your children complain you show them no love.
Yet, love finds its place in your crannies:
in the refugee camps,
in its alleys,
on the water-lapped shores.
Like souls everywhere, we fall in love
and you hold us in your arms.
In your rubble, kids play football,
with a ball made of fabric and balloons;
they find scraps of joy despite the days and weeks
that stretch ahead without a future.
Their smiles say so!
Look at your beautiful, veiled women,
under their flimsy, Bedouin tents,
chit-chatting while they bake
tasty Taboon bread,
and make cheese with its sweet smell,
the kind that I miss.
I have not found it since leaving,
although I have looked.
Your fishermen are no ordinary men.
They roam the besieged sea at twilight.
Returning with what fish they can find at dawn,
risking their lives as they are chased by Israeli gunboats.
Yet they break into smiles when welcomed by their kids,
awaiting them on the golden beach, barefoot.
They are like the aging farmers,
planting what was uprooted years ago,
greening what turned brown,
watering the yellow,
never giving up.
Gaza, you are the incredible,
the incomprehensible city!
The longer I am gone,
the more I love you,
the more I miss you.