Essays    Reportage    Marginalia    Interviews    Poetry    Fiction    Videos    Everything   
Things our mothers taught us and things they did not teach

For all the Palestinians on hunger strikes in Israeli prisons

Poetry | Palestine, poetry
January 25, 2024

When offered a second serving always say no. Expect it. The second serving will
come. Poured into your plate. A yellow lentil soup another scoop of salad with
thin broken pieces of toasted cumin bread.

When offered a second cup of coffee always say no. Expect the second cup to
come. Feign surprise. Thank the offer. Ask about the children. When offered a
full serving of dessert say no           say no again. Say you are watching your waist.
Wait  when the sweet pastry arrives         thank the hands      that made it   
pray for their protection say

yeslamo                       hal dayyet
may these hands         remain well.

Ask about the ones who passed      ask for a glass             of water.           For salt.

Ask      what time is it?                     Say look                      look how time flies  
Say it’s getting late                            then get up to leave                 when offered more
time to stay say no                            stay a little while anyway        make sure you
leave a little                                       behind in your plate                consider it polite

consider                                             never                                         bringing up

hunger                       or strikes                                                           never mention
Palestinians              or prisons                                                          never mention
saline   or solutions                           or            how long the taste of seawater
can keep a caged body                      alive.