An Ode to a Palestinian Olympian Living Under Occupation

You are no stranger to the Olympics,
an endurance runner you are
on the roots of olive trees
while a bulldozer razes your home to the ground
you outrun its angry teeth
breaking a record
a family of five
gone in one go.

You are no stranger to lifting weights
a professional lifter you are
one perfect continuous movement
you lift
the lifeless body of your little brother
in your arms a mother
a baby sister
breaking a record
one minute of silence
that no one held.

You are no stranger to jumping hurdles
a hundred and fifty barriers
to size you up, weigh you down
you jump out of your skin
that bullet just missed you but not her
breaking a record
seventy years of occupation
that never ends.

You are no stranger to throwing
the javelin, the shot put
the rocks
buried in the path to school are red tile shards
puncturing your hands as you break your fall
you rise up and keep running
breaking a record
30 seconds of airtime
you never got.

Iman Annab © 2016

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