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Genevieve Cora Fraser: Palestinian Welcome

Palestinian Welcome

By Genevieve Cora Fraser

He was grimy
With sweat
That cold winter
Morning Israeli
Occupation soldiers
Trained a gun
On his back
As he ferried
My belongings
In a cart
Across the asphalt divide
Of the checkpoint
Thirty shekels
For his troubles
I dropped
In his palm
He begged
For more
For his tall
Ragged and forlorn
He had carried
My extra bags
With the secret
Papers, journals
My concrete memory
Hidden from prying
Eyes who read
Only Hebrew
I was reassured
The contents
Would be barely
I spotted my host
At a distance
Happy I could come
To relieve
Her grief and anxiety
For too brief moments
The taxi driver
Had called
To alert her
Of my approach
A friend he risked
To ride as close
As he dared before
He too would be
Searched or seized
Another notch
In an Israeli war
Belt today’s catch
Was a refugee
Camp resistance
Fighter radioed in
To be on the alert for
I smiled false warmth
And flashed my passport
To wherever I wanted to go
And whatever I wanted to do
As an American
Confident I could cross
While the Palestinian
Prey to their net
Were detained
Waved on I crossed
Without looking back
Until a hand reached out
And welcomed me
To the other side
Of hell


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