Palestine

It is the name that sticks in your throat
and only comes out when your heart cracks open,
wide enough to allow these syllables
of utter anguish to pass your lips.

Palestine.

It is the way your hands shake
when you furiously type letters
to cousins and friends thousands of miles away,
wondering if these words
will be the last you say to them.

Palestine.

It is the scream, ripping from your throat
when children with more bullet holes than smiles
flash on a television screen.

Palestine.

It is the red tears and the white, spilling from
your eyes and your wrists and your heart
when numb lips tell you
your cousin has died shaheed.

Palestine.

It is the feeling of bile rising in your throat
every time your mouse hovers over the button
for news, knowing that this heart will never
stop aching, because your homeland
will never stop bleeding.

Palestine.

They ask you what it means to be Palestinian.
With ash in your mouth,
you tell them it means knowing you will die.

Palestine.

They ask you what it means to be Palestinian.
With pride in your heart, you tell them
it means knowing
you will die fighting.

Palestine.

They ask you what Palestine is.
With pride in your being, you tell them
it is a land of shaheed, a land
where honour runs in the veins
of even the most barren rocks.