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Sonia Nettnin: Poem - Caged Birds Sing for Jenin

Caged Birds Sing for Jenin
For the People of Jenin, West Bank


By Sonia Nettnin

A man narrates
sign language hands
about days massacre
in Jenin. Finger points
where
soldiers execute
men -- bend
bare knees
on streets. Yet distant

Winds stream canary
feather flutters
above
houses crushed
by bulldozers. Out
of rubble, caged birds sing:

Hope is bittersweet;
peck for specks
of fruit on
orange rinds. Bathe
wings in sun/chams so
she smiles, memories
coffee-sugar-mornings. How

He laughs
before falafel lunches, while babies
gurgle chickpea
spoonings. Share secret folds
vine leaves/dolma, grandmother’s
recipe; and white doilies set
on tables.
What life is like

Without two years: pictures
high on walls, fragments
beads strings.
Puddles reflect
a silent sky. Faces
flash, voices strain hairs
whisk behind trees, olive
eyes. Wipe away

Apple cheeks
into moonlight – endless
nights
of celibacy. Speak words
unspoken, bargain
with a pillow. Dust in
skin finger tips
over

Shoulders, whispers
record truths grasshoppers
hide. Eyewitness
words inscribe last
breaths; a journey
to Dead Sea
on maqams/music…
salt cleanses feet, toes point
into porpoise; a tear
falls
into

Arabic letter
h (ha)
as dreams fly
and doves
land
on stone blocks – souls bask
in razana (serenity). Tongues tell
until
people across oceans –
for Palestine,
caged birds
sing

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