Skin remembers how long the years grow when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel of singleness, feather lost from the tail of a bird, swirling onto a step, swept away by someone who never saw it was a feather. Skin ate, walked, slept by itself, knew how to raise a see-you-later hand. But skin felt it was never seen, never known as a land on the map, nose like a city, hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope. Skin had hope, that's what skin does. Heals over the scarred place, makes a road. Love means you breathe in two countries. And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass, deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own. Even now, when skin is not alone, it remembers being alone and thanks something larger that there are travelers, that people go places larger than themselves.
Naomi Shihab Nye - 1952-
How Palestinians Keep Warm
Choose one word and say it over and over, till it builds a fire inside your mouth. Adhafera, the one who holds out, Alphard, solitary one, the stars were named by people like us. Each night they line up on the long path between worlds. They nod and blink, no right or wrong in their yellow eyes. Dirah, little house, unfold your walls and take us in. My well went dry, my grandfather’s grapes have stopped singing. I stir the coals, my babies cry. How will I teach them they belong to the stars? They build forts of white stone and say, “This is mine.” How will I teach them to love Mizar, veil, cloak, to know that behind it an ancient man is fanning a flame? He stirs the dark wind of our breath. He says the veil will rise till they see us shining, spreading like embers on the blessed hills. Well, I made that up. I’m not so sure about Mizar. But I know we need to keep warm here on earth And when your shawl is as thin as mine is, you tell stories.