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Haifa Love Letters from a Palestinian Exile


 
 
 
       i touched another
ocean today, love – let it
filter between my nail
-bed shorelines & its
sediment stuck, stubborn,
the way a lover’s residue
stains & warms the wrong
man’s bare skin –

 

       *

i want to tell you
of a borderless love
i found you at the intersection
of 5 countries, horizons
effervescent & bleeding
       into each other
here, there is enough
history for the both
of us, lovers landlocked
& gasping, i mean to say,
what is love if not
an intertwining
of bloodlines

 

       *

i left my heart
in a sea-glass sepulture
& called it         home, fell
in love with the brief
resurrection of it all –
the shatter & echo of
an empty tomb God left us
in – have you heard the good
news? have you seen your savior
in the streets today – empty
palmed            & bleeding?

 

       *

i don’t have trouble
with commitment – i just
don’t know when i’ll find
love again, so here i am:
caught between two
lands not country enough
to be home & neither
could ever love
me back –

 

       *

       Love –
do not tell me
of the bodies
you parted
to get here,
i know men
get lost
in the wholeness
of you & forget
the histories
& the bodies
you swallowed
to pave
your ivory –

 

       *

you are not
the God i pray to
nor the mountain
& temples that robbed
Him of his history –
neither barbed-wire
eyebrow or cement jawline,
yours is a separation
unwritten, undressed –

 

       paradise stolen
       paradise reclaimed

 

       *

& what of the breathless
martyrs – the ones who
tasted & trusted your waters
before it filled their lungs?

 

once, a lover asked,
“how do you see the ocean?”
& i meant to say, “i don’t”
or “only home – ”

 

i meant to say,
isn’t living
for your country
just a slower way
to die?
 
 
 

George Abraham is a Palestinian-American Poet, Activist, and Engineering PhD Candidate at Harvard University. He is the author of two chapbooks: al youm (winner of the Atlas Reviews 2017 chapbook contest), and the specimen’s apology (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019). He is the recipient of fellowships from Brooklyn Poets and the Watering Hole, and the honor of 'Best Poet' at the 2017 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational. His poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Mizna, Puerto del Sol, Apogee, Hawai'i Review, Anomaly, and anthologies such as Bettering American Poetry 2016, Nepantla, and the Ghassan Kanafani Palestinian Literature Anthology.