Why do I write of hickories, whose boughs
touch other boughs across a slender road,
when our neighbor, Haneen, born in Gaza,
cried that a missile ripped her niece apart
in the family garden? The child’s father
found her intestines stuck to a cypress bark
and he, too, perished in the raid. Her mother
wrote to Haneen before the news was out,
“Help me. Take my hand.” Why do I rave
of hickories reaching out their crooked fingers?
Because before the fires, the child, Lina,
was dropping almonds into a linen napkin.
Soon she would run to offer them for dinner.
Like Lina, I race to show you hickories,
their nuts shrunken brown globes, soon to fall.