by Roula B. | |

The children ask me
Where am I from
Or where was I born.
From where comes my curious tongue
They want to know
Where is my father?
My mother?
Do I have sisters or brothers?
"Are you Spanish?" ..a most common one

I close the door
Quietly whisper
"Pakistan?" They strain an ear
No, Palestine, another land.
In the Middle East
where there?s no peace
Over my homeland?s existence
Violence and hatred made persistent.
"Where?s that?" One girl asks.
"I?ve never heard of it," she chimes.

I begin with, "Do you know Jesus?"
They always know about his bread and wine.
Do you know where he was born?
They can?t wait for Christmas
They?re sure to know
Bethlehem. That?s in Palestine,
A place I?m from but cannot go.
Does it still exist?

How do I tell them that if it didn?t
My soul would be shapeless
I would be nameless.
That I wouldn?t be me.
I wouldn?t know them
Understand their nomadic ways
The robberies in their lives,
The endless waiting days
Husbands stolen from wives
The denial of identities.
Louder, I say? Palestine!
I will make them hear.
No textbook omission can erase a people
They cannot uproot all the sacred olive trees
Or bulldoze all the churches? steeples
They cannot stop the winds of hope
instilled in the forgotten children
nor the million candles
the world has lit for them

They will hear of Palestine?s spirit in me.
No force will make me fear
My own identity.
I am Palestinian!
I am an American teacher,
I am here.

Roula B.

Posted by: nachoua on Dec 21, 04 | 12:24 am