beneath our olive tree


if i do not live to see freedom

that spans Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea

my final prayer is this


i hope you remember,

the first drag of that thick pipe lodged between your yellowed teeth

the acrid smoke and sting that clung to lungs, graying from within

laughs you shared with the eternal sun

as you smiled too wide, saccharine

and signed that, “nothing shall be done which may prejudice1


i hope you remember,

the first home that housed you

the pale pink of my walls

that you said reminded you of your daughter’s favourite dress

she must have outgrown it by now

and is off to see the world

on the trip that our girls had planned together

while we drank qahwa and dusted philo pastry from our collars

i thought that this would have taught you

that peace is reached at tables

not minefields

but if it had

my daughter would be on that trip with yours


i hope you remember,

the first boy you shot

his bright, wide eyes

and the baskets of pomegranates he was holding

how they tumbled from his grasp

and met soft sands that caressed them

and the fruit he had been saving

the way he had gripped a handful of arils

that ran red rivulets down his blistered palm

converging with the evidence of your destruction

like two parts of the Red Sea

the boy that belonged more to the land

than you ever could


i hope you remember,

the first Quran you burned in Jerusalem

rough pages and fresh ink that spoke of David

and how you stood there

gun still warm

before lines of peasants with fisted pebbles

knowing that you were the Goliath

God had shun.


i hope you remember,

the first lie you told yourself

and how you made it truth to the world

that the land you pillaged was but pomegranate trees

and empty streets

abandoned homes

and Britain’s freed

that they refused peace

and that you

had wanted it


i hope you remember,

my Falasteen

the one i had shown you

of sweetbreads and hummus

white robed poets and kohl eyed mystics

of stars, crescents, and crosses

that shared the same city sky


and i hope you remember,

that i had asked to be buried

beneath our olive tree

below the branch that still read our names

and before

you forget me

يا ندمي2

ammarah siddiqui


1 – excerpt from the Balfour Declaration

2 – translates to “my deepest regret” in Arabic


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