A humanitarian ceasefire brought quiet
for a couple of hours, at least, although
a few rockets just flew out of Gaza.
These things happen—unfortunately.
In a few hours the short ceasefire
retires but what happens next depends
on people in separate rooms of a Cairo
hotel and mediators running between.
Like most days, my son went to preschool.
My daughter plays in her daycare. My wife
has gone to work. Papers wait for me
to read them and students wait to hear
their grades. Clouds watch indifferently.
Only my mind seems restless,
impatient, listening for the cracks,
the siren call, the singing voice
that will seduce me with rage, until
I crash against an ideological cliff.
A large half-moon shone in the morning’s
bright-cerulean sky. Yellow roses passed
their prime along the walk, but the crimson
bud—no, perhaps more a claret color—
tightly wraps its future, which is ready to burst
out and declare a moment’s respite
like a five-hour ceasefire, or like a truce
without resolution of all the injustices
on both sides, without grief for all the dead
on both sides, without a care in the world
except to bloom beautifully under a
clear sky and a setting moon.
Perhaps this is a good thing, I don’t know.
Who am I to judge a flower? Perhaps
I should go to the beach and watch waves
to learn about the futility of words and ideas.
Maybe it would be better to rest, take a nap,
dream. Instead, I write this poem, this fantasy
of connecting to you—my enemy, my lover—across
the border, and finding a common ground
where we might plant our gardens together.
Will you hear the boom of this poem
the next time a jet drops a bomb near you?
And your poetry, will I recognize it as it
flies toward me and explodes? Will you
write it gently, so that I might catch it?
– Michael Dickel
© 2015, poem, Michael Dickel, excerpt from War Surrounds Us, All rights reserved; photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved