July 2, 2024
Two poems for Palestine, by Sinan Antoon

Two poems for Palestine, by Sinan Antoon


He is not an archeologist
He was once a confectioner
But now he squats in front of his house
The house is not an archeological site
It is only nine years old
But a hundred days ago
It became a relic
He does not know the names of the bones
But he knows who they belong to
He wipes off the dirt
and the salt
of his tears
He arranges what he has excavated so far
on a wooden plank:

His children’s vertebrae and ribs
Two skulls
And a lock of his wife’s hair

Family tree

Their names are laid out:
Black letters
On white cloth

The names of three generations
hastily written
by a spent hand

Six grandchildren
A father
A mother

A long line of shrouded corpses

Another branch
from the family tree
hastily carried
to the cemetery

Sinan Antoon
June 2024