LIVE WAR

It is like the slapstick where two people are fighting behind the couch

and you see one person jump and dive and then the other pop up,

then go down again, both with false-fierce faces and threatening arms.

But this time they are all pummeling something below the window we cannot see

And making V’s for victory to the crowd outside the police station.

This could be my brother, my son, my husband down there

being beaten to death because he happened to lose his way.

By the time they throw him out to the street and ignite him

The face is unrecognizable, although he seems to be still alive.

That’s the program for this morning. The afternoon

is for retribution—smart bombs threaded into the windows

of the same station in Ramallah, and then the offices of Arafat in Gaza

I change the station but the war is all there is, the war and the blame.

Run it through the video in reverse, go back far enough and we’ll get that line

I remember from nursery: ‘It all started when he hit me back.’

But we’re talking about real blood, real agony, and for every person killed

There is a whole hamula that will suffer – the rabbi’s eight children

who couldn’t even bury their father in peace, the Palestinian father, hiding

from the snipers with his son, mothers who will never forget seeing their children

murdered live. I could go on forever.

Instead, I turn off the television, wish

I could turn off the war with a flick of the switch.