A Night in Al-Khalil


You, my sister, did invite
me in your home tonight.
You gave me food,
it was very good.
You look at me and smile
but I can see already for a while
in your eye
that doesn’t lie
the fear
of what is near.
They’re yelling and singing
and you are clinging
to your role as a host,
though you’re as pale as a ghost,
while outside
in the night
they prepare
to scare
you away.
They don’t want you to stay
in this land
that the hand
of your ancestors already plowed
where you have seen drought
and the falling of rain.
You try to explain,
but in vain
they do not want to hear
have no ear
for what you have to say
that you need to stay
just as much as they.
Their hatred as made them blind
it is of a kind
that has closed their mind.
Soon the singing will end,
then they will send
showers of fire and stones
you can feel it in your bones.
Last year your unborn baby died,
and this year someone else might
fall victim to their hate
while they’re in a state
of drunken superiority.
Now it is my priority
to keep you safe
you are so brave
my friend
and so I spend
the night in your home
so you won’t be alone
to face the fear,
when you hear
their drunken screams,
when it seems
now they are ready,
now it is a steady
march that comes near and near.
Yes, my sister, I can hear
and like you I feel the fear.
But deep in my heart I also feel shame
because they say, what they do, they do in my name.

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