11 mistakes

Flowers on the doormat
Bell rung
Footsteps on chill steps
No one.

‘You didn’t thank me for the flowers’

The first mistake

No.

The first mistake was crouching down
Craning to hear
Whizzbangs
Rattles spun
Above heads
Amid flags
Waving in jubilant annihilation
Above land not ours.

The boy cross-legged on white stone pavement
I thought was a man.

The second mistake
Tea
Drunk on low cushions
Brass mugs
Candles and velvet
Story begun
Spun from old yarn
Falling

The third mistake
Bus empty
Engine grunting, red and white
Driver’s eyes flickering
Wrap-around fleshy cheeks

Tachana Ach’rona
Last stop.

The fourth mistake
Sunset
Gold over graves of over-sung heroes
Over-justifications of existence
Over righteous souls
Over indignation
Over unending negation
Over a hill named for the first kapo

The fifth mistake
Starting down
Cloying cypress
Dimming path
Ein Karem / Ayn Karem
Not near enough
Light barely dabbed on hill behind
Dwindling road
Forest clearing
Voice beckoning inside
‘Good you came’
No going back
The path is black now

The sixth mistake
Bong passed
Stones for seats
The Bedouin boy knows
Smokes
Disappears
Darkness wrapping
Sound swapped for light
Deafening me to

The seventh mistake
No word for no
Longer
Knowing
How to stop words sticking in
Throat tightening
Back sticking to plastic sheeting
Small stones digging
No screaming
Just ‘no’ futilely tailing
Off

Two bloods seeping
Fresh and old
Fumbling for fabric
Straining for string
Pain vague
Shame shaping
Settling in.

The 8th mistake
Dawn
Service station
Payphone answered
A sigh
Not worry
Resignation
‘Your life is off the tracks’

Now I’m a girl
Who sees stolen flowers on mats as compensation
For the unreturnable

The 9th mistake
Self doubt
Can’t really have been stolen
Did not mean to force
To push
In
This time a room
A roof
But cold still

The 10th mistake
Love is blind
Another cliché
To box in legitimacy
Love
Is theft
Love
Is submission
Not choice
Unconditional
Love
Is not will

The 11th mistake
Going there
Seeking sanctuary
Denying permanency
Entitlement
Believing no harm done
On another’s land
To do what?
Good?

It cannot come good

Mistakes are done
No undoing
Only counting back
From 11
To 1

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