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Monday, May 24, 2021


by Tricia Knoll

Explosions in Gaza City on Tuesday. Last week, New York Times journalist Iyad Abuheweila saw their destructive power up close at his home in Gaza. He quotes his brother Assad as saying, during the bombardment, "We have no option but to die." Photo credit: Mahmud Hams/Agence France-Presse—Getty Images via The New York Times, May 21, 2021

This headline arrived in a tweet,
restating the obvious fate 
we forget in warm sun, 
when the lilacs bloom, as my dog
chases a bouncing green ball
into a clump of trees. 
Then his story. The bombs. The blasts.
Newlyweds who lost everything they had.
His mother pleading her sons to stay 
in the same room so they could die together.
Their nights allow no hope for sleep,
dreams cancelled, the nervous
edge of dawn slicing open new visions
of destruction. Rockets and airstrikes.
Airstrikes and drones. Someone whistles.
Another chants God is great.
Buddhists tell us we are of the nature to die. 
Is it hubris for me to believe I will not die
today? What gratitude do I owe for the bloom
of the peony, the trust with which I put 
the tomato plant in soil? Do I know
how far I am from Gaza? 
How close? 

Tricia Knoll is a poet living on the unceded land of the Abenaki people in Vermont, land divided into rectangles of ownership. Her poetry appears widely in journals and anthologies. Her new book Checkered Mates is now available.