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Until Return - Issue 2

The Path of Affection
by Layla Allush

Along the amazing road seized from the throat of recent dates. . .
by the amazing road drawn from this century's earrings
reaching the bloodied neck,
on the startling road seized from my old Jerusalem
and despite the hybrid signs, shops and graveyards,
I gather my fragmented self together to meet the kin of New Haifa.

My companions on our smooth trip in the minibus
know nothing of my suffering.
But I am an authentic face, well-rooted,
while their seven faces are alien.

This land is still the old land,
despite the mortgaged trees on the hillsides,
despite green clouds and fertilized plants
and water sprinklers spinning so efficiently.
On the startling road seized from the throat of new accounts,
the trees were smiling at me with Arab affection.
In the land I felt an apology for my father's wounds
and on all the bridges,
the shape of my Arab face
echoed there in the tall poplar trees,
in the winding rings of smoke.
Everything is Arab still, despite the change of tongue,
despite the huge trucks and foreign tractors.
Each poplar and my ancestors' solemn orange grove
were smiling at me, I swear, with Arab affection.

Despite all that had been dismissed and revised,
despite the modern tunes,
the flooding seas of light, despite technology,
the many psalms, the many nails
and the goings and comings of foreign peoples,
the land continued to sing an affectionate Arab song.

Even with propaganda wavering in the air,
languages mingling, multiplying,
around the strange outgrowths of modern buildings,
the land was gently defying it all.
Oh my grandparents, even in the stark light of noon,
the red soil was shining
with Arab modesty
And singing, believe me,
with affection.

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