Three Poems for Gaza

July 29, 2014 Nathalie Handal


Once in a tiny strip
dark holes swallowed hearts
and one child told another

withdraw your breath

whenever the night wind

is no longer a land of dreams

The Gazans

I died before I lived
I lived once in a grave
now I’m told it’s not big enough
to hold all of my deaths

Tiny Feet

A mother looks at another—
a sea of small bodies
burnt or decapitated
around them—
and asks,
How do we mourn this?
Nathalie Handal is from Bethlehem, Palestine, was raised in France and Latin America, and educated in the United Kingdom, the US, and the Arab world. She is the author of numerous books, most recently the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía, which Alice Walker lauds as “poems of depth and weight and the sorrowing song of longing and resolve.” Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. She curates the literary travel column The City and the Writer for Words without Borders and has Pushcart-nominated poems, videos, and an interview featured in the January 2012 issue of WLT, plus poems and a Haiti photo gallery in the May 2014 issue.