Laylat al Henna

First point of entry:
When his boots Smashed
through my door...
(I REFUSE you!
You will not hear me scream,
You will gather Neither information nor
tears from me)
Bitch, he whispered, And heated up the wires.
 Here he asked the question--
Here and here-And the skin swelled
like ripe fruit
Jealously, he demanded names,
Who?  Who? And who?
Who left the bombs for us
On the road to Damascus?
So I spit out names:
A name for every prick
Searing stars into my flesh.
Here, I said, is Akka,
 And here is Haifa.
Put it to me again...
I have hundreds
To give you.
I will not repress
One village,
One tree, one stone...
So come closer with that wire:
See if YOU can draw on me
The map of MY homeland.
'So much for your land.'
(These were his last words.)
Ribs mend, bones knit,
When I wake screaming
The night blankets me again,
And I have learned
How to ride the night mare
From dark to dawn.
But  now, Israeli,
You will hear my knock at the door.
Still, I refuse both you and yours:
I do not flirt with suffering,
Even yours...
My delivery will be express.
So you see,  Commander,
Israeli romance is not for me:
Your ways will never be my way,
Even as MY land can never be yours.
If I wed death now,
You, Commander,
Will be my witness
At the crossroads
between heaven and hell.
Before you and I part ways,
I swear,
I will henna my hands
With your blood.

By Nabila Harb
February 2000