walkin’ in the city

walkin’ in al Quds and the rain falls down

on women in hijab and long dresses

men in suits and jeans rushing here and there

a bus a horn taxis roadblocks of concrete in the street

i got a little turned around

and had to backtrack

but found the bookshop with the help of an old hajji

whose English was like my Arabic

but who knew where Salahudin Street was

past St George’s cathedral –

St George who slays dragons in myths of times gone by –

past the soldiers who gesture with their rifles

for you to walk on the other side.

i slept last night with a yellow cat

a good bedfellow

who just wanted to snuggle behind my knees

in the home of my artist friend

who collects shards of shattered arabic pottery

and old tiles from demolished homes

seeking to redeem what has been broken

i slept oblivious to destruction-wreaking-rockets

and now sip luscious lemonade the green mint kind

as though nothing were amiss

as though I were not trying to make sense in my mind

the persistent pain of the city

its resiliency its energy its sorrow

the persistence of its hope

The rain has stopped for a while and from the street

when the shop door opens

there are sounds of delight –

laughter –

look, the sun.

i wish i could slay dragons

and make healing from odd bits of clay

but all i can do

is pet the cat, walk in this city

and pray.

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