Poetry & Prose

Drowning the Palestine Sunbird


My closest friend offers me
his celery and carrots, revealing
beneath the lid of his cracked tupperware:
fresh hummus—grooved and tangy.

It’s the third time this week.
He can’t stop making it, he confesses,
following his grandmother’s recipe
like it’s the one thing he can do
for her; the key
is an extra squeeze of lemon
and thoughts of home in Bethlehem.

We share this piece
of his grandmother’s legacy,
of home.
He tells me about her,
his swollen lips unable to carry the words
when they hold so much grief.

He is washed between floods
of accusations and applause:
the torrent screams
martyr and murderer,
leaving no space in between.
And now he can’t remember how to feel
like a person, to speak
without being silenced.

He sinks deeper into the deluge,
grasping for his recipe:
the chickpeas
drain and boil
add tahini, garlic, salt, olive oil,
and lemon—for Teta—
rinses and repeats
because when he holds onto home
in any other way,
mourns his family
and his country,
the virulence of his grief
is mistaken for violence.