Beyond these orchards roars the road, winding
between villages and hills, a writhing asphalt snake,
southward it heaves, then east again, until
it disappears leaving a constant echo in its wake.
Trucks rumble up and down the road, laden with
sand from quarries, rocks and timber. Some are covered
with tarpaulins and even binoculars can only
guess their contents – bulky, ominous, concealed.
Dividing us from them, brothers from cousins,
hard by the road, a wire fence, marked off by
electronic posts, pencils in twenty yard segments
the barrier which, in its way, despite seeming fragility
Shouts louder than a road can understand. It shouts
‘keep out’,’ no entry’, ‘military zone’ in Hebrew, English,
Arabic. Here only crows, mountain breeze and ants
cross with impunity, heedless of the signs, the wires, the road.
Signboards pointing to the border still bear the legend
‘The Good Fence’, and now and then a visitor, still
uninformed arrives, asks for directions to the gate where
women smiling behind burqas once peddled halvah
Olives and pastel-colored squares of Rahat Lokum,
their children and ours observing each other curiously
like animals in a zoo. That was before the war, now gateway,
smiles and kiosks are replaced with concrete walls
While children in their schoolrooms, so close yet not
so close, chant ‘God is Great’, or sing of cypress trees
that grow in Lebanon, unconscious of the irony – the trees,
the birds, the ants and God – don’t really care at all.
Rahat Lokum – a sweetmeat similar to Turkish Delight
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© Johnmichael Simon