Downstairs, from heavenly Aleppo

Tariq Al-Bab, Aleppo, 2013. (Basma/Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Tariq Al-Bab, Aleppo, 2013. (Basma/Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Aleppo, I, Matityaho Ibn Shifra, your old daughter, a grandson of your Arab-Jews, mourn the erasure of your city of poetry

Aleppo, how did they forget to save your libraries

Aleppo, was it not fireworks that lit the skies of the Arab spring? Or were the night stars shining all night long

Aleppo, tell me who is the devil that drops explosive barrels upon your residents, and thinks that in this way — they will write his name in love

Aleppo, will you listen to the old, weeping Iraqi who lives inside of me? Here, at the gates of our European towns, stand thousands of your sons and daughters, standing with keys to lost homes, waiting to enter

Aleppo, rich poems will flourish in your botanic gardens; Free, we will walk among your Middle Eastern shifting sand-novel-dunes; freedom will be tattooed on our children’s hands, red words of prayer will spread in the wind

Aleppo, torn poetry books fly in the wind; your children’s memory squashed beneath the rubble

Aleppo, the few who read your heart’s beating poems fighting with those who don’t know shit about the little girl who dances while she writes a love letter to her mom

Aleppo, your daughters, are the new Jews, who are exiled between the libraries of the world, and inside their headphones you can hear the compassionate womb of the Oud

Aleppo, we will not fight with weapons that lead to victory. Nope. We will put our hopes in the gentle candle wax and surrender to mountains of words where the sweet snow melts into rivers; where love springs out

Aleppo, tell us again how we can raise neighborhoods of believers and atheists; among the alters who scattered our souls

Aleppo, your stories will come back to my ears, like a child who sits on his grandmother’s knees

January, 2017

The poem was first published on  972 Magazine

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About Mati Shemoelof

משורר, עורך וסופר. A Writer

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