Poem: For Palestine. Again.

What does it mean, really, when we say:
We are Palestine
When we change our Facebook profiles
for a week or two
When we post dark images on Instagram
and write moving paragraphs as captions,
trying to make a point

What does it mean when we wear a keffiyeh
and march in streets that look nothing like
the alleyways of Ramallah
What does it mean when we start to pay attention
only when CNN tells us to—

Why does solidarity have to follow headlines?
The thing about people is that we will
take each other’s cultures
We will learn the dabke and eat mansaf
and have a flag pinned on our wall
But are we willing to die for our beliefs?
Are we willing to risk our lives stepping into
a mosque in a city that they tell us isn’t ours?

What do we know about Palestine?

We’re the ones who wrap the flags around our bodies,
but our bodies haven’t known pain like theirs:
We have not been shot at while kneeling in prayer
Ours is a knowledge that can be taken off at will,
a freedom that hasn’t been afforded to them for centuries
What does it mean?
What does it mean, really?

That we get to sleep tonight, after contemplating
for a few moments, what this latest grievance will do for peace negotiations
What does it mean that we write articles trying to voice our rage
at this injustice,
while they stay awake
wondering if they’ve finally been stripped of their right
to just be?

For God’s sake,
Just let them be.