Shelled in fear
beneath a pile of shells
I pretend I’m dead
and wait for the gunfire to stop
but it won’t
not here
not there
a border’s length away
even the imitation of gunfire
on playgrounds can be heard
I wriggle under the shells
I dream of Hakim when he was alive
his cologne on my skin
now on a shell
upon me
Hakim dances here with me
in waking sleep
in pretense of death
The border falls between us
between Palestine and…
the memory of ancient Jerusalem.
I sing to him in the old language
the language of stars and signs
the language that begs questions
to repeat themselves
and offers glimmers of answers only.
I laugh with him as we conjure 
visions of Australia
so far away
red desert
marked by lines of song
and voices un-vanished.
I lie under shells
breathing in fear of being found
Leave me dead
I say
Leave me to the dead
They need recovering
Who will remember them now?
Who will remember me?
Here the horizon is distant
it bleeds into the sand
and lines of continuous absence
I am a-feared in fear
My life is led in waves of secrecy
in veils of silence
in rapturous casual cruelty to neighbors
I punish myself with prayers said
to no one
Hakim cannot hear me,
and I’m not sure that the gods can either
in this bloody, holy mess.
But I pray anyway. It is what I’ve learned to do.
This is one legacy that does continue somehow:
perennial prayer.
Do not find me I whisper
Leave me here
death-stained, death-marked
shattered in knowing, from knowing
that there is no seeming end
Who will want to find me?
What will they do to my body?
Will the bullet hit my cranium?
or will it be dislodged through some other orifice?
How much pain…
and how much longer
this waiting here
for life to come again?
You border me and reinscribe terror
You border me with wire and chains
with lines in the sand
that will vanish one day.
I am bordered by loneliness and the narrow
reading of your utterances against me.
I resist and desist resisting.
I act against reason. I am called mad.
Even Hakim used the word to my face.
I am no more than trade.
Human vessel. Cargo. Worth how much to whom?
To some: nothing. To some: worthless is all I am.
We say such things to ourselves under shells.
We pray with rightness on our tongues
but we question perhaps in the dark still of night
what is wrong, what is inhuman, unkind.
We strip ourselves and write Eastward
but the East breaks under our pens.
It begins to refuse space for ink and the mesmer of the screen.
Gasoline envelopes the world.
And I do not want to succumb to it
from here
from this fearsome place of shells
from this metal chamber 
that holds me in pregnant life.
Too soon East will splinter its voice
Too soon I will be splintered
Traded for the price of a simple pen.
Only Hakim’s memory
will hold me.
And who will I be then?
What vestiges will be left of me?