I am the soul stretching into
the furthest reaches of my fingers
and beyond
— Philip Levine, from “Last Words
Only my books anoint me,
and a few friends,
those who reach into my veins.
— Anne Sexton, from “The Witch’s Life”
I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
— Sylvia Plath, from “Tulips”
This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.
— Margaret Atwood, from “You Begin” 
[One morning
the fox came down the hill, glittering and confident,
and didn’t see me—and I thought:

so this is the world.
I’m not in it.]
It is beautiful.
— Mary Oliver, from “October” 
let’s pour the night
into our stone water jars
this song isn’t red flowers
crushed under silence
— Yusef Komunyakaa, from “Blues Chant Hoodoo Revival” in Neon Vernacular 
There are no spaces for life. No place to return. All of Gaza bids farewell to herself every night and congratulates those who remain alive the morning of another day. They inspect their bodies then run their hands over the living. They close their eyes then open them, and once again call the members of their families one by one…so that the memory of their names does not fail and their spirits do not disappear.
— Hedaya Shamun, “I Do Not Wish For You To See Gaza As Anything But a Rose” (translated by Ghada Mourad and Tyson Patros)
How will we return to life its splendor after the bodies of the young are stolen? He carries his body in his hands and needs no coffin. His hands have become a coffin for his child shrouded in white cloth. He walks with his head high and his tears flowing. But he is lucky that he is still alive to pay his child the last honors. Entire families were buried in their homes and no one remained to pay them these last honors. It is so simple. In this civilized world of international rights and conventions and the right to life and the right to housing and the right to education and the right of expression, these rights are not for Palestinians but for someone else.
— Hedaya Shamun, “I Do Not Wish For You To See Gaza As Anything But a Rose” (translated by Ghada Mourad and Tyson Patros)

Warpaint - Undertow

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