Preoccupied in Palestine

1. The Silence

She has given up speech for sign language.
She is learning how to sing with her hands,
how to scream and shout without parting her lips
or betraying her coordinates. The truth is
she can tell you everything she needs to with her eyes;
right now, they are pointing out a sniper—and his shadow—
watching us eat lunch through a telescopic lens.

2. Disappearing Stones

These days the dead are too angry to die.
I see their hands reaching up out of the grave,
grasping for stones. I can’t tell anymore
which side of this dream I’m on. Last night
I buried my niece and marked her place
with a few fine stones—By dawn, they were gone.

3. The Brains of Resistance

The soldier’s bullet blew the boy’s brain
clean from his skull. The medic scooped it up
and placed it on the stretcher next to the young
boy’s corpse. It seemed to the medic that the child’s
brain was still firing off orders,still gathering up stones—
hurling these hardened poems at the tanks of occupation.

Dennis J Bernstein is the host/producer of Flashpoints syndicated radio news magazine on Pacifica Radio. He is author, most recently, of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom, which received the 2012 Literary Achievement Award from Artist Embassy International. His poetry has appeared in the New York Quarterly, Chimaera, Bat City Review, The Progressive, Texas Observer, ZYZZYVA, Red River Review, etc. Read other articles by Dennis J..