poetry archive: the heiress (born on yom hashoah)

Written as I was trying to assemble my thoughts for a speech that I gave at an interfaith rally on September 11, 2010.

6 september 2010 | 27 elul 5770

i am an heiress —
i have inherited
a long, long history
of oppression and resistance,
one of the longest
in the world’s memory.

my heart pumps with such force
statistics about the prison where my cousin was tortured
are tattooed on the capillaries and veins

i have inherited
two national anthems —
and i could sing them to you
but i won’t
because
they were written, both
with the blood of those who used to walk
where they are now sung

my lungs are filled
with some guy’s apologist interfaith bullshit
and i can’t speak up
or even breathe
as my friends are lined up to be shot
and i know that i’m next
and then you.

i have inherited
a deep, deep, deep-seated fear
the knowledge,
born of centuries and centuries of blood,
of boots on necks,
that anyone who comes after my friends
won’t wait a single second
before coming after me

i was born on yom hashoah
or at least i was one year
i imagine myself climbing out from under a pile
of shrivelled, rotting bodies
like ari folman climbs naked from the sea,
ready to light the flares,
as someone tells me
this
is the defining moment
of my history
of our history
and someone else uses the bodies of the dead
to beat others out of existence

i inherited the obligation
to use every cell in my body
to stop this machine
my pounding heart,
my drowning lungs,
my blindfolded eyes,
my feet which are worn down from praying
and,
god willing,
as i am run over
my dusty bones will stop its gears,
my blood, spilled, will make it slip and crash
before it’s too late.

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About mirit mizrahi

artist, writer, activist, giant. זהירות! אני מזרחית
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