Gaza, January 18, 2009 Norbert Ruebsaat A word is a thing that we have against death. It is only a word: It is as simple as a feather. I hold it up: Here is the word, I say. My enemy holds his child against his body For protection. He shoots: who falls? Name me not as your killer, Says the word. I am that which you have Against death. Name The silence of weapons, The sound that follows a gunshot: Who are you? Asks this silence. Describe your exact features. Describe the country you come from, The names its lips have re- Collected. Describe your worth. When you cannot speak, When silence holds you, When all of you aches Like a lost arm, When you curse your birth, And your mother, long dead, Has forgotten your skin, What is left of you? When you crouch in the space Behind your teeth, Give yourself a name. Urge forward, Dream it. A country that failed. Its inhabitants flee. Where they then were Is not. You are facing into a wind, Your thoughts inhabit Phases of you That whip by. Turn, and you remember An equation, something Someone said. Once. No longer a miracle. The country that failed Walks away from its inhabitants Like a seaman, And loneliness invents New rules. You are within earshot. for HC.