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Tuesday, March 03, 2015


by Catherine Wald

“Everything is beautiful in my room, but only in my room, not in Gaza.” --Nidaa Badwan quoted by Jodi Rudoren in The New York Times February 28, 2015

Call me radical, you who uphold
hegemony of the hothead; call me
artist when I find beauty on the
inside, where it’s supposed to
have been stamped out; call
me traditionalist, locked away in
my own self-inflicted zenana.

Here, no one will beat me or throw
stones after me.  Here, I can forget about
which missile coming from which side
may explode my face. Here, I have
rediscovered what safety feels like.
Look carefully: let me remind you, too.

This is the only way I know to honor
perfection of nests and eggs and those
fledglings straining at the windows who
will have to learn to fly inside their heads
like I have, like we all have, in this ageless
conga line of barefoot women on hot sands.

Here, when I am punched in the gut, it’s by sunlight
or soul; colors or ideas. Freedom, I call this freedom.
No need to send for a doctor. This is how I heal.

Some day I would like to fit the whole world into this room.

Catherine Wald's books include poetry (Distant, burned-out stars, Finishing Line Press, 2011), nonfiction (The Resilient Writer: Stories of Rejection and Triumph From 23 Top Authors, Persea Books, 2005) and a translation from French of Valery Larbaud’s Childish Things (Sun & Moon Press). Her poems have been published in American Journal of Nursing, Buddhist Poetry Review, Chronogram, Exit 13, Friends Journal, Jewish Literary Journal, The New Poet, Society of Classical Poets, The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly and Westchester Review.