An old key

old man with key
old man with key
Artist: Haneen Al-Ayasa. Courtesy the Palestine Poster Project Archives.

The day I was born, I drank my mother’s milk,
Warm sugary, sweet, and healthy.
I drank without choking.
My mother’s body was my first homeland.
Soon, I drank the milk of our goats,
They too nurtured by the soil of our land.

Our families gathered
To water our sunflowers
and pluck olives, figs, and citruses.
Cousin Ahmad plucked the oud strings
And sang of Jafra as we Dabkah danced.
At night we lit the little lanterns
To keep the goats awake and giving.

Our sacred love of Palestine
Became our sudden deepest pain.
Tanks rumbled in, the voices of their guns
Thundering in our chests,
The shouts and screams of families fleeing
Piercing our hearts.

Uprooted, stripped of joy, robbed of home,
Thrown under the tutelage of pain,
In my bare hands, I held
My dignity, faith, hope,
And an old key.

Oh, my deep disaster,
Haven’t I forever thought
Palestine would be all I seek?
Oh, I lost a home to those who care little
Beyond their fantasies for what home means.

I still hold the key and tie it to my heart,
The key to the house that used to be mine.
I hold it tight, feeling the urges in my veins
To return and kiss the soil of Palestine.


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Category: Poems Tags: , , Comments: 0

Mentor: Kevin Hadduck

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