PLANETARY ALIGNMENTS

Against a greyish backdrop of an entire

block of concrete apartments in Gaza –

hapazardly demolished by aerial

and/or artillery and/or tank

bombardments – a photograph in Haaretz

shows a group of ten female soldiers

in olive green posing relaxedly

for a selfie. I do not know their names.

They are somebody’s daughters, who, no doubt,

would consider themselves and probably are

generally decent, and well meaning.

 

In another Haaretz photograph,

about an hour and half away by car – the time

it would take me to drive from here to Blackpool –

is a ten year old West Bank boy called Amro,

a name which means ‘To Live a Long Time’.

He has a serious look on his face

as he poses for the camera.

He is holding up a flannelgraph version

of the Solar System, which he has made.

 

I do not know what has become of the young women

posing like tourists among the ruins.

 

Sitting on the family car’s front seat

with his dad and his seven year old brother,

Amro – for no apparent reason, by design

or accident – was shot in the head,

and died. The bullet was fired by a young man

in a purpose-built concrete watch tower.

 

 

Note: Here are the links to the two photographs described in the poem and published in Haaretz on 20.3.24 & 16.3.24 respectively –

 

https://img.haarets.co.il/bs/0000018e-5d2a-d4b2-afcf-dfbe35cd0001/83/0a/07a1ddba4a94a9bc052eaacac8e1/033102.jpg?height=488&width=840

 

https://img.haarets.co.il/bs/0000018e-4466-d1ed-a7ef-55772e9c0000/ea/b3/bca7876c40a1a4f00e71ffc9afd3/55974219.JPG?height=960&width=960

 

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