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I have been thinking of what has been going on in the Levant – between Israel and Palestine, the civil war in Syria. The images of children being killed, first-hand accounts of families seeking safety in bomb shelters (if their neighborhoods have one …), the starvation, the refugees.

I am reminded of a poem I wrote a decade and more ago, about another war – an unofficial one that played beneath the radar of media and sanctions, ignored since the time of Papa Bush until ….

Friends who are in those lands, please be safe. I am holding you and your families In the Light.

FOUR THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS

L_caputoby Lorraine Caputo12 Jul 2014

A young woman returns
to this bomb shelter
The other women & children
gather ‘round to give
her dried fruit & tea
Her small hands, her dark eyes tremble
as she recounts to us
Almost trapped in the open
she was afraid to move
Fearful that, then,
the tracers would find her

I swallow her bitter words
The pin of my head scarf
pricks the tender skin of my chin
What is the best thing to do
if one is caught like that?
I ask

Don’t move
& read the Koran
the women tell me

But I don’t know Arabic

Just hold this copy of the Koran
Allah hears prayers in any language

My long dark sleeves brush the
small dark-green book
placed in my hand

Dream time
& dream place
shift

The bombing began again
we huddle outside
a building’s door
& as soon as we can
we slip in huddling
praying beyond the
grimed glass façade

The rain of munitions
now is constant no respite
Gold streak after gold streak
after gold … after …
They paint disappearing
lines through our
clenched eyelids

We clench each other tight
this old woman & I
Our headscarves touch

Gold streak after gold
& the white flashes
of their explosions
so near us

Our breath silent explosions
of fear to move
will find us
Fear to think even
a complete
thought

Tracers
Gold streaks

We dare to lift our heads
just a bit to talk

Tracers Tracers
Gold streaks
white flashes
Tracers tracing

I don’t know what to do
I whisper

Just keep still & pray

Tracers tracers
tracers tracing

Gold streaks painting
white flashes burning
clenched eyelids
Our bodies clenched
in a tight embrace
My hand clenching
the small green book

How I wish I could read
even one prayer
my mind whispers
How I would like to read
just one …

Dream time
& dream place
shift

Darkness
deathly stillness

No tracers

We run
low
to bushes
in the middle of the road
Afraid our movements
be detected

Deathly silence
darkness

& we run
low
to a glass façade
Slipping through
the doors
Down the
silent
darkened
corridors
Our footsteps sharply echoing
& left
down another corridor
towards a light
burning
the darkness
Towards lighted rooms where
the women & children
where shelter, dried fruit & tea
await us

© Lorraine Caputo