White Phosphorus
Friday, 14 June 2024 06:31

White Phosphorus

Published in Poetry

White Phosphorus

A Ghazal for Gaza written on 5th November 2023

All Hallows’ Eve 2023, tenth anniversary
Of my mother’s passing from Huntington’s Disease;

Outside the half-curtained living room window
Excited laughter of children doing trick or treat—

Over 2,000 miles away, screams in the dark
Of Gazan night, pitch black but for sparkly

Blossoms of white phosphorus tinselling down,
Fluorescent flowers of destruction—deadly

Firework display pre-empting this fifth
Of November 2023… Gaza will be

A burial ground of rubble, its grey-limbed children
Pulled out from under it, ashen ghosts grown in debris…

This Nakba broadcast live to traumatised Westerners,
Nerves numbed by jump scares. Gaza under siege.

Gaza under rubble. Gaza an open grave, an open wound.
But from that rubble blooms indomitable solidarity—

Protests & marches swell in numbers each weekend,
Hundreds of thousands chanting “ceasefire now”, “free, free

Palestine”, “in our thousands, in our millions, we
Are all Palestinians”—in our iPhone open prisons

That pretend to protect us, but only contain us,
Doomscrolling in apocalypse dependency

Unputdownable attempts at coming to terms
With a graphically unacceptable telepathy,

& gruesomely gaslighting hegemonies—
But our suffering is nothing on Gazan agonies

That slow burn through to the bone, scald the soul,
Scar lives forever with obliterating bouquets,

Silver tentacles of giant jellyfish streaking in the sky
Streaming down stinging tendrils lethally, illegally…

Remember, remember, this fifth of November
White phosphorus fireworks stream down on Gaza.