(dedicated to the memory of Tirza Porat, the first Israeli civilian casualty of the Palestinian uprising of December, 1987) 


At 15, I was no innocent,

knowing, itself, is enough,

as my parents' parents said

to the allies. How could we not be

aware? We picnicked with guns.

At 15 I was 25 years younger

than my country which, although young

itself, never pretended to be innocent.

We had survived a holocaust.

At 15 I was wary and coy, old enough

to know soldiers are men

like all men, and subject

to girls and spring.

Young enough to be smug

like a baby who believes

no one else really exists.

At 15 I was very smart.

I knew the guns could fire.

I had heard Romam Aldubi

brag, how he killed Arabs

in Nablus, so they sent him home,

and said it was army business.

Those soldiers! I was almost their age.

That morning, we saw the gun

at Romam's side. We were not shocked.

The hike was pleasant. We watched

young Arab boys working the fields.

We ate and laughed and sang.

Then when the first stone landed,

and Romam raised his rifle,

I was not 15 any more.

The Arabs came and tried

to take the gun away and Romam

screamed. I do not remember

what age I became. 


 “TIRZA” published in Bristlecone, literary magazine out of University of Nevada system/Western Nevada Community College, Fall 1988