An old man, a kuffiyeh, a deadly combination

An old man, a kuffiyeh, a deadly combination;
At least, that’s what they say.
But his eyes grab you, they shake you
To the only ground he ever knew.

His family, his friends — uprooted
Like the olive trees that once stood
Tall like his father who hid the key
To the only house he ever knew.

Breathing, still patient, resisting
The urge to run, the urge to stop
Waiting unlike the bullets that tear
Down the only walls he ever knew.

His life turns to black with lines
Crossing like fences on solid white
Cloth that he wears on his head
In the only life he ever knew.

All that you see in his smiling eyes
Can never compare to the things he’s seen
Or to the shades of blood he can’t unsee
Under the only freedom he never knew.

And so he smiles, deadly and all
Before a camera lens put to use
To tell a story of Palestine,
The only home he ever knew.

Sami Kishawi


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