poetry archive: letter to ima

17 november 2010

today we played in the dirt like children
& there were silences
like when i started to talk to you
about interrupting netanyahu’s speech in new orleans
& then you interrupted me
& said,
“can you help me dig this hole?”

& we made dirty jokes about gardening
& i felt like i had finally joined
the secret club of women
i had been dying to get into.

& it occurred to me to say,
wisecracking me,
here we are — making the suburban desert bloom.

& i,
for so many years,
convinced myself that it was a desert
as if
there was nothing to deserts.

& you continue
to convince yourself
that palestine is so empty
that not even your own grandmother
planted an olive tree there

& then you’re the one
who makes the joke
about making the desert bloom
& then we’re silent
because we know first hand
that deserts alone
are worth dying for.

& we finish our hard work,
congratulate ourselves,
drink hot tea and take our bras off,
and head upstairs to clean off.

in the shower in the silence,
i think about your silence
& i remember
that an interruption also is a statement

& that more talking
is better than less talking
& speaking
truth
to power
is what we did in new orleans

but here,
you
are the one
that has the power,
i told myself,
but i know now —
not like when i was younger —
not always.

& i go to wash my hair
but all you’ve got is
“curls to straight” —
assimilation shampoo —
so i just let the water soak in
and swirl down the drain with the soil

& i realize
that you are not erasing yourself,
but building something new
because no land is empty,
and a desert is paradise

& i am at peace in this silence,
& i pray
that you are,
too.

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About mirit mizrahi

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