Keep her running

from We Are Not Numbers by Mohammed Moussa 


Four of us 
were trapped 
in southern Gaza
on the made-up border
surrounded  by  100 snipers’  bullets
    like birds about to be snared 
     with gas bombs falling from the sky 
              like the rains of January.

Hope lunged out of the smoky darkness
     with her kufiyah wrapped around her neck;
     like a deer
     she ran,
           holding our flag 
                              below the kites flying,
                                             she came running and shouting,  
        “I’m coming for you, for the land!” 
Then handed us the flag
to put it on the fence to prove
this land is ours and
we’re returning.

We ran back with her 
 the four of us
       holding each other’s hands;
      like a chain of protection,
      we formed a human shield
      to protect her, 
our hope, but 
      the sky was our shield
            protecting us all
                    from the rain of bullets
                                 at our backs.

We ran from our grief to come,
    inhaling the gas and
    the sound of bullets
          sinking into other bodies

She didn’t.
We surrounded   
    our hope,
        kept her running.


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