poetry archive: letter to baba

30 october 2010 | 22 chesvan 5771

i could be a poet,
sitting silently next to my father in the car —
like my mother tongue,
i listen when it’s spoken to me,
but i cannot say a word in return.

i am doomed to be yehuda amichai,
waxing lyrical about a land that isn’t mine,
that i never kissed,
as if kissing
is a means of possession.

i cannot speak,
but with a pen in my hand,
pressed to the page,
maybe i can write you a letter,

dear baba,
here are the reasons why i stand against the wars and the occupations,
and one of them
is that
the statistics you read this morning
about the dead civilians
could easily
be about you.

here is why i fight for palestine —
because i love a land you only know in dreams,
ideologized, objectified,
and long for its people to be free,
and to be free with them.

is why
i will never tell you
that i’m queer:
because then it will make too much sense to you
that i am a threat, always creeping among the edges,
trying to steal your place
as the man of the house.

i’m sorry
that you think i hate you
because of the past —
it’s behind me and you don’t need to apologize
that’s between you and god now,
what i hate is your politics and your power.

and times have changed now,
i believe in god,
and you believe
in conspiracy theories.

i will fast for two on yom kippur and read poetry —
amichai boxing with himself,
forty years old carried by his son of four,
overprivileged fathers wrestling with zion
while their children,
black-striped white blindfolds off
(or on, in the streets)
step outside the ring,
and onto the battlefield,

dear baba,
i thought
that women’s studies
would free me
from the necessity
of writing poems about you.
i was wrong.


About mirit mizrahi

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