She Wrote Her Name On My Hand

Painting of dark-haired woman against a setting of grass and earth.

let us lay our babies down
to rest, like the sand rests
as beach, as boundary
between land and sea
rest, here, habaybi
wake as water,
as clay

dead or alive, Gaza
you will always be my people

never as caged
collectively tortured
human animals

together, Palestine
we enter humanity
haunting our way out

here, out in the open,
as barefoot warriors,
with Gaza’s sand
between our toes
still, we are alone

genocide feels like
the only Palestinian left in the world
is yourself

into immaterial,
of noplace

our homes, our graves
No –
our graves, our homes

children digging out children from the debris
of other children’s bodies

our babies writing their names
on their hands

without hands

only my head, spine,
and intestines hang
separated from what I used to call my body
which was never my own
now, held up in the hands of a passerby,
snatched out of the sea
of our ruins

but the world sees me now
when they did not before
the world sees me now
as a bloody rag
as material, as debris
as dust
because even my severed hands
with my name’s calligraphy
are lost under the rubble

this is not death
we are treated as the world’s waste
sent to the settler landfill
where we poison colonial waters,
and eventually, flow back into the sea
crashing upon the beach
as wave, once again
as sand

resting in this sacred boundary
cast across all thresholds of empathy
ocean and land

still defiant, patient, healing, and resisting the settler’s certainty, the colonial category, the usthem
binary, we are all the beach of Gaza, fighting for a future where Palestine is already

where we can rest with our dead, tethering tomorrow’s terraces with jasmine flowers
and the aroma of home, as we gaze out towards Gaza’s sea, long after fortress Israel, and all
this world’s colonial states, are only memory – here, there, then, and now – we will be free

I know this viscerally, an impossible pain I hold in my bones, transformed in the care and caress
of my love, whose kiss holds and releases, all at the same time, like only real freedom can

how do we make Palestinian love, on the day the bombing began, naked, wet, with complete
agony and eternity’s desire?

we found our way to the sand

where we held each other in
beside the water, heat of fire, and somehow
beneath the stars
she wrote her name on my hand

-Devin George Atallah

Painting of dark-haired woman against a setting of grass and earth.
Cover Art by Devin George Atallah

Dr. Devin George Atallah is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is a diaspora Palestinian from the US and Chile. Dr. Atallah is an activist, researcher, practitioner, writer, and healer dedicated to decolonial movements and Palestinian liberation. Dr. Atallah co-developed a Palestinian decolonial healing workbook that is free and available online through MayFly Books entitled: CURCUM’s Trees.

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