Chicano Poet

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Gravedigger

Salman Oman, the gravedigger said,
“Gaza is a graveyard...” as he shoveled dirt

in Sheik Radwan Cemetery,
a cigarette dangling from his dusty lips.

They bury sons in the graves
of long dead family members.

We’re running out of dirt he says,
it belongs to them now---

he points to Israeli jets
flying overhead.

Three young cousins are lowered
into the graves of a dead aunt.

She was buried there ten years ago today.
It’s a shame, he continues,

there’s plenty of room at Martyrs Cemetery,
but the Israeli shelling and troops

make it safe only for the dead,
and maybe not even they are safe.

The smell of death is in the air
as he lights another darkening cigarette.


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