We are still here

Last night we went to the seashore
My father carried my little brother
He cries a lot and hardly moves.
Mother held the baby
My older brother and I carried blankets
They aren’t heavy, we only have a few.

Nights in Gaza are cold
We wear all our clothes and snuggle together.
Our house has no walls or roof
So we are accustomed now to lie
under the dark sky.
When we are hungry mother says
Count stars and we do until we sleep.

We reached the beach slowly
The stones hurt my feet because
my shoes have stone-size holes.
I don’t cry because Mother says
I am eight now a big girl.
Little brother cries for all of us.

Father hardly ever talks
He walks all night holding my sick brother
This night we wanted to stay awake
under our blankets we waited
lying on a patch of pebbles and sand
The sea so quiet we could hear
the murmurs of hundreds of people.

We were told ships were coming with medicine
and cement to rebuild our house.
We try everyday to pile up broken blocks
Even I can carry small bits
But they don’t stay together very well
We waited happy to know help was coming.

Father has a little job in the day
He used to be a teacher but the school has gone.
He sells cigarettes beside the road
I did sleep until my mother shook me.
The stars had left the sky
We go home now she said
The ships won’t come they were captured.

We bought a fish from a fisherman
to cook at home for breakfast
As the sun came up I stumbled along.
Father said nothing but I want to say
Please tell your friends
We are still here
in Gaza.

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Theresa Wolfwood

Theresa Wolfwood is a writer and activist in Victoria, BC, Canada. Her poetry collection: Love and Resistance was published by Smallberry Press, UK. She serves as the director of the Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation (BBCF), Canada.

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