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  • Jerusalem
  • Naomi Shihab Nye (bio)

Let's be the same wound if we must bleed. Let's fight side by side, even if the enemy is ourselves: I am yours, you are mine.

Tommy Olofsson

I'm not interested inwho suffered the most.I'm interested inpeople getting over it.

Once when my father was a boya stone hit him on the head.Hair would never grow there.Our fingers found the tender spotand its riddle: the boy who has fallenstands up. A bucket of pearsin his mother's doorway welcomes him home.The pears are not crying.Later his friend who threw the stonesays he was aiming at a bird.And my father starts growing wings.

Each carries a tender spot:something our lives forgot to give us.A man builds a house and says,"I am native now."A woman speaks to a tree in placeof her son. And olives come.A child's poem says,"I don't like wars,they end up with monuments."He's painting a bird with wingswide enough to cover two roofs at once. [End Page 160]

Why are we so monumentally slow?Soldiers stalk a pharmacy:big guns, little pills.

If you tilt your head just slightlyit's ridiculous.

There's a place in this brainwhere hate won't grow.I touch its riddle: wind, and seeds.Something pokes us as we sleep.

It's late but everything comes next. [End Page 161]

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye has published more than twenty-five volumes as an author and editor. Her books of poetry include Red Suitcase (Boa Editions, 1994), Fuel (Boa Editions, 1998), You & Yours (Boa Editions, 2005), and 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (Greenwillow Books, 2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her new book of essays is I'll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay? Tales of Driving and Being Driven (Greenwillow Books, 2007). She has been awarded fellowships by the Lannan, Guggenheim, and Witter Bynner Foundations, and has received numerous other prizes for her poetry. Honors for her children's literature have included two Jane Addams Children's Book Awards.



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pp. 160-162
Launched on MUSE
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