On A Starless Night
On a starless night,
I toss and turn.
The earth shakes, and
I fall out of bed.
I look out my window. The house
next door no longer
stands. It's lying like an old carpet
on the floor of the earth,
trampled by missiles, fat slippers
flying off legless feet.
I never knew my neighbors still had that small TV,
that the old painting still hung on their walls,
that their cat had kittens.
My city's streets are nameless.
If a Palestinian gets killed by a sniper or a drone,
we name the street after them.
Children learn their numbers best
when they can count how many homes or schools
were destroyed, how many mothers and fathers
were wounded or thrown into jail.
Grownups in Palestine only use their IDs
so as not to forget
who they are.
Sobbing Without A Sound
I wish I could wake up and find the electricity on all day long.
I wish I could hear the birds sing again, no shooting and no
I wish my desk would call me to hold my pen and write again,
or at least plow through a novel, revisit a poem, or read a play.
All around me are nothing
but silent walls
and people sobbing
breathing is a task,
smiling is performing
on one's own face,
and rising in the morning,
trying to survive
another day, is coming back
from the dead.
A Rose Shoulders Up
Don't ever be surprised
to see a rose shoulder up
among the ruins of the house:
This is how we survived.
Mosab Abu Toha
Things You May Find Hidden In My Ear
Poems from Gaza
City Lights Books, 2022