without a word

if the word for this is   Palestine
this love    this steadfastness

if this word becomes     again
unutterable    unspeakable

if this word   Palestine   disappears
if this work      of being

If a word, a life, the life
of a people      of a land

is taken    disappeared
    stolen            between 
the time   starved for months,
              of this poem

denied food            
   its writing      and

without   water  and the now 
         of your     years 
  under siege   reading

living in rubble  
      you are reading it

a reign of bombs 

dying in rubble
  what then

what then?
  what will we do?
I           who?
 will anyone    make it stop?
bring it  them!  back?    home?

this word  this land   this people
if the word for this is 

it is          genocide

Copyright © 2024 by Trish Salah. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 26, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.