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Two wars ago
the border between us and them
split apart once more
tanks rumbled across
and khaki vehicles
churned up the mud
and the blood
of young fighters
wrenched from their mothers’ arms
into hell and thunder

After it was over
a few of “them” – Christian soldiers
who fought together with our boys
against the Hizballah
escaped to our side

Traitors they were called
by the Hizballah
never to breathe their homeland
air again – now torn from their soil
growing new roots in our small town
like suspicious weeds

Hani lives downhill from us
with wife and sons
our village built him a home
in gratitude for his loyalty

Hani has green fingers
he plants grape vines, passion fruit
tomatoes, works all night as
a watchman – mornings he’s out
watering his garden from buckets

Over the years he has made
many friends, they stop their vehicles
outside his house, chat with him over
the wall, their Arabic gruffness competing with the oily tones of the muezzins in full sight of Hani’s front window only kilometers away

Boker Tov he greets me
in Hebrew as I walk the dog
past his house.  We talk a minute
about plants and fruit trees
never about politics

Sometimes I wonder
if Hani ever gets homesick
for the cedars of Lebanon

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© Johnmichael Simon



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