That one day is soon coming – Mondoweiss

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This poem was written after attending the Palestine Writes literature festival on September 23, where hundreds gathered to appreciate Palestinian art and authorship. There was a feeling in the air once the festival had completed, a feeling none of us knew we were missing until we experienced it. A feeling we didn’t know would become ever more necessary and relevant in the preceding weeks with the aftermath of the assault on Gaza. A feeling many Palestinians in the diaspora have experienced at some level before or are experiencing now. This poem, I hope, captures the essence of it.

Post travel blues don’t even begin to describe
The emptiness
That can’t quite be pinpointed as to why
Until you are on a plane, in a car,
Looking out the window of your train

Realizing that
You are returning
Without your community, your people
You have left spaces of hundreds of Palestinians
Having exchanged origin stories and shared histories

Coming back ‘home’ doesn’t quite feel like home
Because it’ll always be missing the most crucial ingredient
—your kin

It’s not natural
To have parts of your body dismembered across unknown lands

Unreachable
Like a heart struggling to pump blood to veins that’ve dried up

Intangible
Like a stiff body that only leaves you feeling dead, fragmented
That’s what it’s like being without your people,

Unbearable
Like pieces of your heart will forever be in more places than one
Never with you, never whole, always in search of another
Palestinian to ask, “where are you from?”

Hoping that with the answer comes a semblance of connection
An ignition
For one beat, one pump, one inhale of oxygen
That resuscitates your scattered limbs
That they may recognize the tune of the drum
That they find each other
And find their way back to the source

So that one day the answer soon changes from,
“My grandma’s village back home?”
To, “Down the street, we just moved in,
Which part of the diaspora are you from?”

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