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Coming home
from two weeks in Palestine,
requires transitions.
It’s been three days now
and I’m still there,
here.
There, in the clutch
of a people
occupied and oppressed.

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In the warmth and hospitality
of their eagerness
for us to know them,
their lives.
There, in their struggle
and resistance.
Images cling:
of fertile agricultural valleys,
a tall, cement wall that separates,
a blue sea that’s really a large lake,
ancient olive trees,
tables laden with food,
winding, steep, bumpy roads,
churches and mosques and synagogues—
some ancient crumbles,
some with spires rising to the sky.
Faces,
black and white scarves,
red scarves,
black hats,
long robes,
faces.
Children’s faces.

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Above all,
a sense of place
so profound
I can still sense it
here,
at home,
on the prairie—
where I now can see
what I caught no glimpse of there:
the color of the sky
before the morning sun,
the color of the sky
after the evening sun,
a short spectrum of rainbow
in the clouds this morning;
I can let the stars in the cold, black
big, welcoming sky
take me.
I don’t know what to do
about many things:
global warming and drought here,
the injustices of occupation in Palestine.
I just know,
now,
and stand
under the stars,
remembering,
the streets of Bethlehem.

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Home on the Prairie

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Streets of Bethlehem