Get in, Omar motions and that’s how it happens—
the last tendril of hope caught in the door’s slam,
the comet of exhaust, the kilometers expanding
as Samir flies along Gaza’s last highway.
No watermelon vendors, no farmers, no
women for me to signal and say Salam Alaikum? Shokrun?
In the front seat, two men in the darkest
of sunglasses, laugh and argue in Arabic
and it’s depressingly clear they’re discussing me.
I consider the road’s dirt shoulder,
velocity divided by speed, my body ribboned to red.
And how awkward if I could even open the door—
if I found my will frozen, my courage asleep.
An old sentence beats its rhythm in my ear:
They want to throw us into the sea! Into the sea!
The story I learned from my grandmother’s neighbor—
I was seven and she an Auschwitz survivor.
And then there is silence. It’s all been decided.
To the east of us, a kind of dreamscape fades in
like a foreign film’s slow establishing shot:
sand the color of clouds, turquoise surf, filtered light,
and we pull-up in a mall-sized parking lot.
Tell your friends, next year we will build foreign hotels,
restaurants, discotheques, room for your dog pets!
I nod and smile, dog hotels, yes!
We take off our shoes, the men point, Suzanne!
Take a picture of me, of me! Which will you marry?
I shoot them on the shoreline, shoot their backs
against the postcard sea, their arms clasped
round each other, young men again, laughing.
Gaza City, Gaza