A Question of Friendship
Something tender about skin
and muscle framed by ancient stone.
The pyramids behind us in silhouette,
solid, rooted, entirely diagonal.
The night deepened,
the city's glimmer distant.
Fadi drew on his smoke.
Do you support Israel?
I took a deep breath,
listened to the desert hum,
felt the weight of silence.
Would the night weave my love
for Israel and Palestine
into some kind of logic?
I hoped the truth would be enough.
Yes, and the Palestinian cause.
Time stopped ticking
as I waited for an answer:
his half-smoked cigarette
flung from mouth to sand,
that flick of the wrist,
straightening of the elbow,
and the glint of that tiny fire
shimmering against the darkness.
Alright, he said.
We walked on into the long night,
wending down an unmarked path.
-Yvette Neisser Moreno
Used by permission.
From Grip (Gival Press, 2012).
First published in Foreign Policy in Focus.
Yvette Neisser Moreno's first book of poetry, Grip, won the 2011 Gival Press Poetry Award, and in 2012 she was the first runner-up for the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. Her translations from Spanish include South Pole/Polo Sur by María Teresa Ogliastri and Difficult Beauty by Luis Alberto Ambroggio, and she recently founded the DC-Area Literary Translators Network (DC-ALT). With a specialization in the Middle East, she has worked as an international program coordinator, writer, editor, and translator, and has taught at GW, Catholic University, The Writer's Center, and other institutions. Yvette serves on Split This Rock's programming committee and leads the ongoing campaign to get more poetry reviews in the Washington Post Book World and other newspapers.
Yvette will launch Grip at Sunday Kind of Love, this Sunday November 18th from 5-7pm at Busboys and Poets 14th & V location. Reading with her is fellow poet and poetry and lectures coordinator at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Teri Cross Davis. Don't miss it! Details here.
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