Making a life of walls
He was a curious child to them,
their passionate dreamer
small boy poet, their son,
hours alone, stubby pencil to scrap of paper
hiding his hunger in words,
his heart so delicate,
there was no safe place
in the strange Jordanland of escape,
so he hid his poems in sand walls.
When he came of age, he returned
to the heart of his country’s history,
burying his soul in a deep grave
alongside that of his Palestinian peoples’,
he laid down on that embrace of land,
exposed war secrets out loud in daily print news,
promised his life to regain the peoples’ freedom,
allowing their fire to consume his years
in the agony of prison walls
built for lies and torture.
One remembers promises like that,
and so he searched for his soul
in the dark of pain and bars
held in place by bloody bricks of loss.
News comrades saw his trial by conflagration,
fought for his freedom but only begot
his sequestered living behind invisible walls
surrounding his home, converting it
to a political territory, blocking his friends,
his voice, trying to destroy their dream.
Finally, in the crux of expulsion from his motherland,
sponsors brought him to a distant new home,
he and his children, to an unfamiliar life
of abundance with barriers he did not
make, and no passage back to his desert love
with soiled ground strewn with the victor’s
dirty tricks, where they burned his poems
shredded his paintings.
Exhausted, he drew in breath
and readied himself to build again
in a new city open and free, to unfurl
from crumbling dreams new promises
for his children who would never see home.
The price this time was great,
they’d again built walls,
but this time to restrain his soul.
Copyright © Sharon Lopez Mooney, “A life of walls”, originally published in Arteidolia Press, September Issue, ed. Randee Silv, Queens, NY 2023