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Ramzy Baroud

Your Nakba, and Mine

When your grandfather deserted his horse

At the lower edge of the Pacific

My family’s steed was still grazing

By the southern hills of Palestine

Your Nakba started before mine

But mine is yet to end.

Your name is molded to mean many things

And signify nothing

Mine is ‘gun powder’

The bones of my ancestors keep the mountains of Galilee standing

My cousins are the ones holding the Gaza fort

Against the invading Khazars.

Our ruggedness might not suit your taste

But we inherited the language of the trees

So that the legacy of olives and figs may live through our children

Until we harvest the remaining citrus of Beit Daras

And redraw our music to rhyme with love and life

And everything in between.

I have to fight to preserve the essence of my name

And I mustn’t die – as of yet

Until my children are old enough to inherit their grandmother’s Thoub

And return to the very road between hope and exile

Looking for her childhood

Amid dying peasants.

So don’t talk to me about pain

For I plead at every border just to prove that my face in the photo is my face

And that my home exists between the port of Haifa and eternity

And the blood of my father was the same blood that drenched the skin of


After he was caught at a Roman military checkpoint

Hiding a poem about love

And a recipe for revolution.

And don’t talk to me about love

For mine are the roots of a thousand olive trees

And the echoes of the war songs of all the men of Jaffa

Before the last battle was lost to the brutes of the pitiless north

And all the love letters of refugee women

Sent to suspended men at crosses

Overlooking the Martyrs Graveyard

Bordering my house, and what remains of yours

And Yet,

I love you still

Because in your eyes I see my beginnings

And the promise that my assured passage into forgetfulness

.. will never end.

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