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Friday, October 13, 2023


 by Amy Shimshon-Santo

I am the person formerly known as _____ _____ - _____.

Now she is the bird left behind from the flock.

She is the figure weeping in the sand.

A witness, witnessed only by the sea.

I am not a war correspondent or a social media expert. 

I am not a documentarian of suffering.

Don’t worry. I have nothing to teach you and nothing to say. 

I’m just skipping words like stones along the water, 

knowing they will bounce and then sink down.

The birds laugh at us.

Birds side eye sonic jets and helicopters. 

Maybe they will tell the trees what’s going on — what they see and feel.

Last week I was a writer.

Today I am a barnacle on the belly of a whale. 

I am moaning like an underwater animal.

When did time stop? When will it start back up? 

Will it? Is this the new time, 

the timeless time, lost in unknowing?

I am not a flag.

I am no longer really a woman, I just gave birth to life.

I am not a faith, just faithful.

Oh broken bones and heavy stones

How far will you tumble?

How far down will you fall?

Six days ago was the sabbath. We gathered 

with 29 members of my family across four generations. Cousins with cousins. 

Sisters with sisters. Brothers and children and grandparents.

Six days ago was a Friday.

Today is six days past a moment of miracles, six days past the bomb.

24 hours x 6 ago there was a night where we could all lay down and hope to sleep.

If I am going to sit with the page I have to say that I don’t want to say

I want this to not be true.

Before I speak, I want you to know that I am wrong. 

Not because I know nothing but because everything is wrong. 

Not every thing but the big world of powers that evaporate worlds. 

I don’t want to remind my mind and relive what has become a beginning.

I don’t want to state the facts because the facts are a mush of kindnesses and disasters.

I am the person formerly known as a self.

I melted into the Mediterranean, sonic booms above our heads. 

My tears salt the water and make everything sting.

I want to tell you about the weeping. 

The mother collapsing onto her belly like a conch shell whose life has departed. 

She is the throw away, the detritus of those left behind.

Author’s note: I have been in three cities in Israel during this past week. I am from Los Angeles. My mother was born here in 1932 as a Jewish person under the British Mandate Palestine. I am a mother, a teacher, and a culture maker. I am deeply opposed to murder, torture, war, and intergenerational harm. War is the loss of lives and infrastructure and dreams and time. Torture and war are the worst uses of human energy and potential.