A hard path, they said, the high path
to freedom, fortune and frankfurters.
A hard path it was, true, too hard for me.
You know, you saw me fall,
stumbling on the slippery stones
then rolling with them
into the ravine.
You knew not to search
for my broken body, too late it was
in the night, needing to cross
the border before dawn,
and too late for me.
How fitting I felt, as I fell
to die here, on this bed
of shattered rocks so like the broken bricks
of our village of hell.
There the first shells fell
into the schoolyard beside the mosque
scattering pieces of plaster
and of our wives and children.
In a better year, we would
have been there too, that day;
not away, foraging for food,
listening for the rustle of rabbits
but hearing only the blasts,
the crashes of collapsing masonry
sheltering the screams of our sisters.
So we did not really leave
our beloved land, it’s loveliness was lost,
taken from us
before we left, bereft.
Crossing the sea was frightening,
we grew so sick, but could not die
in her strange embrace: better
to die here, between familiar boulders,
carrion, for the free crows.