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Friday, March 16, 2012


by Antony Johae

Rachel Corrie (b. 1979) was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She went to occupied Gaza during the Second Intifada and joined protesters there. She died on 16th March, 2003.

It is a sunless day
with light harsh on the dog tags of uniformed youths
tank turrets
lone bulldozer
and young Corrie’s watch-glass – with the sand running out.
It is she who is standing her ground
before a home to be flattened.
It belches into the blue
into suburban quiet,
and on plated tracks treads to
her on mound, erect, ten thousand miles from mother,
conspicuous from the cab.
She can see his face at the window
young soldier at the gears
hoping for a week-end pass
thinking of the girl in his pocket – the one his mother likes –
and of a larger future
with this woman in the way.
He’ll frighten her to make her move
with time to brake
and in the evening weep at his levity.
Or would he see her die
in duty’s line
all-pliant to Authority
and having served as soldiers must
shrug away responsibility?
Or is his an obscured view?
Now it’s one tread too late
the earth’s moving
and Corrie’s gone
lifted first
then buried without box
on a demolition job.
Storied houses are razed
dust’s thick in the air
and when it’s clear – ground zero:
prostrate concrete, frenzy of wires,
a wilderness without distinction
except that Rachel’s there                                                               
raised in insurrection
her spirit risen
from Rafah.                                                             

Antony Johae Ph.D. is British; he lives in Lebanon where he is writing freelance. Previously, he taught Literature in England, Ghana, Tunisia and Kuwait. "Rachel in Rafah, Gaza" comes from a recently completed collection entitled Poems of the East.