after Solmaz Sharif
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Have you dreamt of pomegranates this week? All the time you would talk of the pomegranate trees that reflected from your grandfather’s eyes. If history is a woman with gentle hands pouring black tea, let there be sunlight, a soft chair, a young Palestinian boy entering his home for the first time. How remarkable is that? Let the woman be Jewish, and let there be nothing political about the way she yearns for her son’s safety, about the years between 1948 and 1974, years your grandfather spent mourning the dirt he used to plant those pomegranate trees. In this version of history, there is some forgiveness. Come in, come in she beckons you. Everything will change. Maybe you remind her of her son, how you both share the same olive-skinned complexion. You enter. ==== Dear K,
All this is real. You tell me stories. You repeat did you get that? and do you hear me? like I won’t believe you. You hate the way I interrupt Al Jazeera, the way I ask questions. Your body is collapsed on our tired beige couch. Every hour we talk makes me wonder if you’ll ever make eye contact. Will you look at me? Palestinian habits die because Palestinian bodies are dying -- are dead. It happens every day. They couldn’t care less about your grandfather, how he spent so many of his days staring at a ceiling, inhaling cigarette smoke, relying on the United Nations for food, for shelter. Year after year, you hovered around him -- unbreakable.==== Dear K,
In a photo, you stand next to him, wearing a small smile, dress pants, and a sweater. You told me once that he would smack fear right out of you. Is this why you have a history of hostility? Mom says you wrote love letters to her. She ripped each and every note you ever gave her, then burned them. This conflict rages. I wonder how much of you existed in those pages.==== Dear K,
Imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, I’ll call him . throws a rock at an Israeli tank because Israel will not allow more than two to four hours of electricity a day for residents in Gaza. An Israeli soldier catches , lines him up in front of a wall, then threatens to shoot. thinks about clouds, how he’d one day like to greet them. was you, is you. In a dream, my great-grandmother flees her home, a pot held over her head to keep from the sun. Perhaps if she had thirsted a little less your love would be greater, stronger, more profound.==== Dear K,
Remember the cactus fruits you would always bring home? The shell of the cactus fruit has hundreds of hair-like thorns hiding under its surface. You always knew the exact place the blade of the knife must slice to open the sweet part of the fruit. Is that not love?
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The italicized parts of this poem are taken from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the 2016 UN General Assembly on September 22, 2016.