letter to a friend who is going to the holyland for the first time

31 march 2011
25 adar II 5771


when you see hatred
in people’s eyes
in the streets
and barbed wire.

your heart
and take it all in.

it is worse than you thought,
because the soldiers
have mothers
and maybe
they walk with their mothers
and maybe
they have children

to their children.
listen to children.

go and buy tacky evil eye jewelery from the woman at the marketplace.
when she tells you
how she is the only one
from her village
who survived,

eat pita with zayt and za’atar for breakfast.
eat shwarma for lunch
mujaddara for dinner
knafeh for dessert.
don’t listen
when they tell you
those are israeli foods.

if you see shchunat hatikva,
tell her
that i miss her.
(don’t forget to buy pomegranate juice from a man on the street,
i couldn’t tell you which street,
or if he is still there.)

if you see umm al-fahm,
tell her i am longing for her,
i will come one day
in search of the past,
and find it,
god willing.

if you see bil’in,
tell her
the world
is watching
and freedom
is coming

when they tell you
you are too jewish not jewish enough
that you speak the right language the wrong language
remember that you are larger
than their assumptions
and that you are beautiful and perfect.

prepare yourself
for things you never expected.
say tfilat ha-derech before you leave,
and sing shehechiyanu
as many times
as you need to.

with your brothers and sisters,
kiss the land:
olive trees will grow
where they were once cut down.


About mirit mizrahi

artist, writer, activist, giant. זהירות! אני מזרחית
This entry was posted in palestine-israel, poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

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