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Sabra is Hebrew
for cactus flower, prickly on the outside,
sweet in the middle.
the word, saber: the virtue
of patience & tenacity.
I leave a prayer note in the cracks
of the Old City’s Western Wall. 1999.
Ehud Barak is prime minister,
the most decorated soldier in Israel
& a classical pianist.
In Ma’ale Adummim in the Judean desert
an ancient gang of thugs
robbed & beat a stranger.
A hated Samaritan stops to help. You know the story.
There the Israelis have built a strategic city:
40,000 mostly secular souls, housing for families
who can’t afford Jerusalem.
20 Israeli schools, 80 kindergartens, 40 synagogues,
built on land taken illegally,
though some dispute that.
Hamas Turns Back 37 Gaza War Orphans
for a Bridge-Building Trip to Israel
‘A suspicious trip aimed to normalize
our children with the Zionist occupation,’
says the Hamas official.
‘Hamas will make sure,’ he says,
‘that such a trip will never happen again.’
Gaza City, 76 kilometers from Jerusalem.
Half-hour flight. With road closures,
kidnappings & rocket fire,
driving not advisable. Some call Gaza
the world’s largest prison.
It does have the Mediterranean. Still, 1.8 million
in lockdown, two-thirds, children.
If you’re a journalist or trauma surgeon,
you can visit bombed-out factories
& sweltering concrete slums.
You can see black-masked militants.
There are brightly-colored posters honoring the men
on hunger strikes in Israeli jails.
Water queues, donkey carts, smuggling tunnels.
The bloody legs of a child in the al-Shifa
Living is the same as dying,
say the young men.
Copyright 2017 Joan E. Bauer.
Previously published in Slipstream. Republished by permission of the author.