Poem: Bombs Do Not Discriminate

14 July, 2021
Build­ings lie in ruins in Gaza City, fol­low­ing an Israeli air strike in May 2021 (pho­to Mohamed Hinnawi/UNRWA).

Abdallah Salha

Each bomb, you feel it three times:
Once borne,
whistling through the skies
and as it steals the born. 

As you hear it, you get the chills
tears… heart race.
You cling to something,
stunned.

As if you’ve nev­er heard
some­thing like it before. 

It gets to where it gets
does its thing
steal­ing the born
and shak­ing bal­ance and thoughts.

Does not discriminate
embraces what­ev­er is in the way.

The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, moral.
But in practice
don’t we always argue where
moral com­pass­es originate? 

Every­one is watch­ing in awe
Oth­ers shouting,
or chant­i­ng — so to feel strong from within. 
As self­ish as you want
to be for your own,
you still think of others
their grief
displacement
fear 

They evi­dent­ly had
hap­pi­ness to pursue
lib­er­ty to claim
life to preserve
and روح that now
have left this world. 

We are bystanders
silent
neutral
per­for­ma­tive­ly objective
in awe. 

It’s your turn!
A drone strike may warn
Or may not…
It didn’t warn many before you.
Nine­ty seconds
and counting… 

Fair or unfair? Not my dilemma.

Enough time to pack?
My phone, passport,
my child­hood pho­to album?
oh I’ve been crav­ing those cookies
in the draw­er too.

Every­thing feels so precious
to leave behind. 

“We’re not the ones being hit”
I watched them say 
in denial
as they evacuated.
“Flat­ten it,” war­mon­gers said

And so they did. 

Will there be an appetite
for the draw­er cookies
some­where under that rubble.
Lying like a hid­den secret
of happiness
of memories
of love…
of Home.

 

Gaza, Pales­tine May 2021

Abdallah Salha, a Palestinian, is stuck in blockaded Gaza as he looks forward to starting college in the US in fall 2021 after finishing high school in Norway and spending two gap years first in Senegal and then in Gaza.