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Gaza Diaries

O Lord, Guide Me Through Darkness

(Photo Credit: Haya Abu Nasser)

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on the We Are Not Numbers website on January 7, 2024.


Migrant, refugee, displaced,
my ID bears brutal chapters
I did not choose to write,
pages filled with cries,
prayers, and voices of hope silenced.

From north to south,
we yearn for our backyards,
where warm rain showered us
with love,
not a cold downpour
among tents leaking wind and water.
We crave simple things: coffee, warmth,
friends’ laughter.
We hear only echoes of the departed,
mourning through the nights.

Have you glimpsed
how peace graces my cheeks?
Our road is long.
Our heavy feet pass by
screams, soulless bodies
betraying their grief,
while enemy guns stare.

We have no wings for flying,
or chasing the escaping clouds
from north to south.
We flee our homes.
We fly from our own spilled blood.

Lord, lead us back to a thousand farewells.
We wait like birds seeking our nests.
From north to south with heavy steps,
our wings bearing scars.
I have not died,
but I lost a friend to the war.

Dreams are dust on the doorstep,
in a slow dance toward our demise.
In our journey from north to south,
we carry memories,
childhood autographs from beneath my bed,
portraits once hanging on my wall,
novels from my shelves, family pictures:
no heavy luggage, no time to salvage.

How do I tread the sun’s threshold?
O, Osiris, lord of time and death,
guide me to death’s wisdom,
tell me how I can hear a friend’s voice.
Heaven is wide and merciful.
Carry a message to my friend
that I wait for a last embrace.

Sweat pearls on our foreheads.
Like the hearts of the Iroquois, Lakota, and Chumas,
our hearts flee our chests.
Our poems become carnelian
hanging in the sunset.

Oh Lord, my heart, a refuge,
gift me from my dreams
a provision, let peace sneak in.
We are birds migrating
in a flock of sorrows,
or dust searching for water in a mirage.

O Lord, take me as a sincere servant,
on the chest of a raincloud,
alone to die, alone to sleep.
I will fear nothing after this nightmare.
O Lord, from north to south,
release, guide me through the darkness,
Where shadows weep.

Haya Abu Nasser is a human rights activist and writer whose family is originally from Deir-Sneid. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and humanitarian sciences, and worked for several non-governmental organizations in Palestine.

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by Hans F. Wagner

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