Beginning Now

Not a Protest Poem/ A Love Song
(After August 29, 2004) *

The mothers
standing on the bridge
untie the kerchiefs
from their heads.

Their children paddle the river home in carved canoes
returned whole.

Fernando Suarez de Solar
follows the shadow of his son
his heart hanging out of his chest.
We wade in the water of his flooded eyes.

He tells his story again and again and again
into microphones, steel cameras
into the arms of strangers.

He lost his son
there is no why here
only Fernando walking through crowds,
his words lining his face
the map the marines never drew.

Where can the silence be
when we are called to speak.
Please let me find the stillness
where words begin
and let that stillness speak for me.

  * After the Republican National Convention in 2004, when thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of New York City to protest President George W. Bush’s policies.

Kathy Engel

See We Begin Here: Poems of Palestine and Lebanon, coedited with Kamal Boullata

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