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Monday, March 04, 2024


by Shelley Ettinger

‘Flour massacre’: Lifesaving aid becomes a deadly struggle in Gaza
At least 112 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 others were injured on Thursday after Israeli troops opened fire on civilians gathered at a convoy of food trucks southwest of Gaza City, Palestinian health officials said. Israel denied it was to blame, saying that many victims were run over by aid trucks in a rush to obtain food. The massacre comes as the UN warns of an “almost inevitable famine” in the besieged Palestinian enclave amid increasing reports of children dying of starvation. —France 24, March 1, 2024

You think it’s irony at first
it’s spelled wrong at first
in your head a fun metaphor
it’s blossoms buds stems scents
you picture birds maybe
or animals eating petals maybe
insects descending in swarms
devouring flowers in fields on trees
it’s ironic because it’s iconic
nature doing its cyclical thing
pure innocent instinctive
You spelled it wrong in your head
now you know not metaphor it’s actual
no bees no flying beings not natural
it’s people downed mass as in murder
acre as in designated slaughter site
the hungry strafed their bodies bloodied
arms outstretched for flour sacks dropped
because feeding starving children is not
permitted must be swiftly stopped because
the death deliverers determine eating to be
a capital crime in Palestine

Shelley Ettinger is the author of Vera's Will. Her work has been in Allium, The Wild Word, Gertrude, Nimrod, Mississippi Review, Mizna, The New Verse News in August 2007, and other journals. She is a Lambda Literary Foundation LGBTQ Writers' Retreat fellow. A queer social-justice activist for fifty years, Shelley now lives in San Antonio.