Thursday, March 2, 2023


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.

Palestinian Streets

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 

    buzzing drones.

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

without sound.

Hard Exercise

In Gaza,

breathing is a task,

smiling is performing

plastic surgery

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