My feet are not forgiving.
My soft soles remind me every day
that I may have weight to carry,
yet I have never had to sit
with a martyr’s mother as her son
is carried to his grave.
My shoulders are not merciful.
My delicate tendons
remind me every day that I have history,
yet my torso has never absorbed
the impact of a soldier’s ammunition.
My limbs ache when I think of my people,
but each appendage does not let me
forget where I stand.
I cannot neglect where I walk
while elders still sing songs of another time,
as a rhythm of ruination plays on their doorstep.
My family’s stories are lodged in our gut.
They say the foundation of health sits in the stomach,
So, the next time I eat,
I’ll leave room for the tongues of my ancestors,
who dreamed their children
would have soft soles and delicate tendons.
This poem comes from being a Palestinian in the diaspora. Generational trauma is something we know too well. This poem is about the generations of trauma that is with me all day and all night. Sometimes it hits me like a wave and sometimes it’s a gentle current. Regardless, diaspora is second nature. It’s a critical part of who I am.
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